Federal Government Amends Broadcast Code, Increases Hate Speech Fine To N5m

Lai Mohammed Denies Social Media Bill OnoBello (2)

The Federal Government has increased the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million naira, according to reports from The Punch.

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, made this known in Lagos on Tuesday while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code. The amended code also mandated broadcast stations to devote airtime for public education on emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was contained in a statement made available on the verified social media platforms by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, titled, ‘Remarks By The Hon. Minister Of Information And Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, At The Unveiling Of The Reviewed Broadcasting Code In Lagos On Tuesday, Aug. 4th 2020’.

According to the statement, Mohammed said the amendments were necessitated by a Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after elections.

The minister noted that the recommendations were approved by the President, Major General Mohammed Buhari (retd.), to reposition the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.

Mohammed, who explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code, said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content.”

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