FG sets to increase hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5m, regulates online media

Hon. Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism

Following the widespread of fake news and domination of hate speeches in Nigeria, the Honorable Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed has disclosed that he has inaugurated a seven-man committee to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the purpose of regulating online news platforms.

The members of the committee identified as Armstrong Idachaba, NBC director of monitoring (chairman); Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON); J.K Ehicheoyax director of legal services, ministry of information and culture; Bintu Adamu Bello, Secretary, Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON); Ibrahim Jimoh, director of administration, FRCN, Agbo Kingsley Ndubuisi, NBC board member and Joe Mutah, chief press secretary, ministry of information and culture (secretary) would face the job description centres on implementing reforms in the NBC.

While addresing people at the event, Lai Mohammed disclosed that President Buhari has approved the upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5 million for hate speech offences as well as the amendment to the NBC act to enable it to license WebTv and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into the country. There is also an upgrade of political comments relating to hate speech to ”Class A” offence in the broadcasting code.

“The terms of reference of the committee are as follows; To establish and publish a new regulation for the licensing of web and internet broadcasters/international broadcasters in Nigeria,” he said.

“To immediately commence work on all statutory, legal and regulatory framework for further legislative action on the review of the NBC act by the national assembly.

“To work out the modalities for a competitive and reasonable salaries, wages and other welfare needs of the staff of the commission.

“To establish necessary protocols for the establishment or appointment of professionals or technocrats (non-partisan personality) to run the agency, and appointment into the board of the NBC.

“I have no doubt that this committee, which comprises highly-experienced professionals and administrators, will carry out a thorough job that will reposition the NBC as an effective and efficient regulator,” Lai added.

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