The Adamawa State chapter of Nigerian political party the All Progressives Congress has accused media organisations of denying it the “right to reply” in a letter sent to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission.
The letter, which was signed by the state publicity secretary of the party, Hon Mohammed Abdullahi, said: “After observing with grave concern in the past few months the inability of some media houses in the state to accord us the right to reply, we write to the National Broadcasting Commission seeking clarification.”
In response, the NBC advised the party to take steps for redress, stating that broadcast media houses are required to give implicated parties the right to reply to accusations.
Media organisations in in Adamawa State include Adamawa State Television, Adamawa Broadcasting Corporation (a radio house), and Adamawa Publishing, which is behind weekly newspaper Scope.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) imposed fines on a total of 78 television stations during October and November last year.
NBC’s director general Mallam Modibbo Kawu has announced that 78 stations were sanctioned for various reasons and will each be fined between N100,000 and N200,000.
According to Kawu, the stations were found to have practiced unethical broadcasting, breached broadcast rules by airing music with vulgar lyrics, aired prohibited music, advertised alcohol at the wrong times, were involved in premature political campaigning or carried hate speech.
NBC recently warned broadcasters to avoid hate speech and political campaigning or they would face the full force of the law.
“We are disturbed by the pattern of insensitive and inflammatory broadcasts emanating from some broadcast stations, especially in their coverage of national crises, like the Herdsmen/Farmer crises,” Kawu said.
“We have observed that some stations deliberately and repeatedly air very inciting contents long after the events break. We have warned stations that they must follow the tenets of the broadcasting code.
“Having warned broadcasters, we shall follow up with appropriate sanctions should any station continue to violate the code.”
The states where TV stations are affected include Uyo (12), Maiduguri (3), Lagos (3), Kaduna (14), Ibadan (11), Enugu (20), Abuja (10), Benin (3) and Jos (1).
Kawu disclosed that NBC will begin a phased switch-off of analogue signals in Plateau state and Abuja by the end of the first quarter of this year.
This will happen after the transition to digital TV takes place in more states. So far, it has occurred in five states: Jos, Abuja, Kwara, Kaduna and Enugu.
Growing the Nigerian TV industry will help create jobs for the country’s younger generation and deter them from joining militant groups such as Boko Haram, according to the head of the government’s broadcasting regulator.
Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), told Content Nigeria that much of the civil turmoil caused by the Islamist group was perpetrated by young people who felt disconnected due to a lack of employment prospects.
“We have a serious crisis with very young people. Most of the unrest we have in our country – Boko Haram in the north, the militants who break oil pipes in the south – is caused by young people,” he said. “It’s because they don’t have opportunities and they feel alienated.
“Television offers a platform for young people to express creativity.”
Kawu added that Nigeria was in the process of moving from analogue to digital broadcasting, and that the digital revolution would offer a platform for the “development of new content and the creation of jobs in Nigeria.”
“The basic decision for us is that 80% of all content should be local; it has to be to create opportunities for jobs. And when people get opportunities they begin to connect with their country in a more positive frame of mind,” he said.
“Our country is a population of 192 million and 63% of that is under the age of 25, and 75% is under 35. Creating these kinds of pathways will give more and more younger Nigerian content creators the opportunity to reach the world.”
The digitisation of the country is being done in stages but will eventually reach all 36 Nigerian states. Kawu said the internal development would, in turn, showcase the country’s television potential globally.
He said the international recognition of the Nigerian film industry – aka Nollywood – “has provided the wings; now we need to fly.”
“Content from outside the Nigerian territory is part of our sensibility because we’re part of the world,” he said. “Nigerian content is so dominant in Africa, the international companies know the best way to tap into this new generation of Africans [is through Nigeria].
“We’re encouraging younger and more established content producers to create relationships for coproductions and bring stories that tell an international story into Nigeria, and also connect internationally to present the Nigerian story as part of the global human story.”