President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the review of the National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations.
The President has also endorsed the implementation of reforms to end all forms of monopoly detrimental to the actualisation of the immense potential of the broadcast industry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while inaugurating the National Broadcasting Commission Reform Implementation Committee.
Specifically, the minister said that the President approved the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for breaches
relating to hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency.
He said the President also approved that wilful repeat of infractions on three occasions after levying fine on a station should attract suspension of license.
The minister said Buhari also approved the upgrade of breach of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments to ”Class A” offence in the Broadcasting Code.
Other approvals by the President according to the minister are “Amendment of the NBC Act to enable NBC license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beam signals into Nigeria.
“Recruitment of more monitoring staff for the NBC. At the moment, there are only about 200 staff monitoring about 1,000 radio and television stations.
“Deployment of adequate monitoring equipment and technologies for the NBC and enhancement of welfare packages of NBC staff to avoid their being compromised in the line of duty’.
The President, according to the minister, said that the reviewed code must also ensure the Independence of the NBC from political interference in the exercise of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting license.