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Government urged to support media

Pandemic-hit broadcasters all over Nigeria are appealing to the government to aid the country’s media industry.

Guy Murray-Bruce

The broadcast media claims it has achieved huge traction is its mass coverage of Covid-19, with the help of committed workers and resources. But terrestrial broadcasters say they have to fund their operations on dwindling revenues from advertising and other forms of sponsorship.

A statement by Usman Umar Bello, chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, read: “We appeal to the government to rescue broadcasting from imminent collapse.”

He said this should involve the government “taking some exigent measures that include the funding of advertorial and public information campaigns running on broadcast organisations; and government approval of a stimulus package for the broadcast industry through tax rebates and an intervention fund for the broadcast industry to access long-term capital at a single-digit interest rate.”

He added: “We also canvass the speedy conclusion of the digital migration process, which has been lingering for several years.”

Another appeal, made by Guy Murray-Bruce, secretary to the Independence Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) and Silverbird Group founder, reads: “The broadcast media has been hit both on the demand and supply side, which has not only led to cash flow problems but has also resulted in an existential crisis for the independent private broadcasters.

“IBAN is calling for government support including the commissioning of a multi-billion Covid-19 awareness advertising campaign in an effort to support Nigeria’s struggling media industry.”

The Association of Licensed Set-Top Box Manufacturers urged the government to assist with unlocking the manufacturing potentials of its members and unleashing the creative capacity of the entertainment industry by completing the broadcast digitisation process.

Godfrey Ohuabunwa, chairman of the association, said completing the process will free up some frequencies which the government can auction to raise cash for telecoms services, now that other sources of funding are drying up.

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