The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has revealed plans to regulate Netflix and other streaming services in Nigeria.
He spoke on Wednesday, saying the streaming platforms may be exploited to “cause chaos” and undermine Nigeria’s democratic processes.
He stated this at a two-day conference which was to discuss “the implication of Nigeria censorship laws and regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services and content providers in Nigeria.”
Mohammed further stated that the popularity and demand of streaming services in the country has increased following the outbreak of Coronavirus, hence the need to regulate it.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, Information and Technology in the ministry, Comfort Ajiboye, pointed to the belief that social media and streaming services can be used “to cause chaos and undermine democratic processes.”
The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) organised the conference in Lagos, along with practitioners and stakeholders in the entertainment and creative industry.
The Executive Director and CEO of the NFVCB, Adedayo Thomas, in his open remark said the conference was to brainstorm on creating policies to regulate streamers and content providers in Nigeria.
Thomas said, “With over 50 per cent internet penetration, it has become imperative to convene this conference to bring together stakeholders and legislators in a conversation so as to come up with crystal policies on the regulation of streamers and content providers.”
He further stated that streaming service providers are unable to self-regulate, reason why their operations are now being discussed at the conference with the theme, “Nigeria Digital Content Regulation”.
Thomas, however, noted that “the goal of regulation is not to stifle creativity but to create sanity and encourage healthy competition for socio-economic gains.”
The Netflix Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa, Shola Sanni was a panellist at the conference.
Participants include members of the various Guilds in Nollywood which included the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN).
Others are the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Theatre and Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), among others.
Also were representatives of local and international streaming services, Free To Air (FTA), Pay TV operators and other content creators.