The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new amendment to the 6th edition of the broadcasting code in Lagos on Tuesday, minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said the licence of any broadcast organisation could be withdrawn if it pays the fine and continues to condone hate speech.
The minister said in the build-up to the 2019 elections, some politicians paid the fines for broadcast entities to air hate speech.
“In the build-up to the 2019 elections, if politicians approached broadcast houses to air offensive material and were turned down because of the fear of being fined by the NBC, the politicians doubled the fees to accommodate the fines,” he said.
“So, even with the new rate of N5 million, if you pay and continue to accommodate hate speech, we will have no choice but to withdraw your license.”
The minister also said the antitrust provision in the new code will encourage open access to premium content.
”I must explain that this provision is not new to Nigeria Broadcasting. Exclusivity was disallowed at a certain time in the history of our broadcasting,” he said.
“I recall Multichoice sub-licensing EPL matches to other local operators in Nigeria. I recall HITV engaging several local operators on sub-licensing the EPL when they got the rights.
“The 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria. Our intention remains the good of the country. We need to catalyze the growth of the local industry.
“We need to create jobs for our teeming creative youths. The opportunities must be created and we believe that effective regulatory interventions are a sure way of attaining this. That’s why we will not waver.”
On his part, NBC acting director-general, Armstrong Idachaba, commended the federal government for showing interest in the development of the broadcasting industry through the implementation of reforms and several other interventions.
The revised broadcasting code was rejected by many stakeholders in the industry.