In Nigeria, the House of Representatives committee of Information recently held a one-day public hearing on a bill to provide for the regulation and conduct on the practice of broadcasting in Nigeria.
The purpose of the hearing was to seek broadcasters’ and media practician’s input to give legal backing to the Society of Nigerian Broadcasters, which was incorporated in 2020.
Participants at the hearing mainly supported the bill, describing it as complementary to the National Broadcasting Act in line with current realities.
However, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) saw the bill as irrelevant and conflicting with the Embassy Act of 1992. According to the Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah, there cannot be two regulatory bodies governing one profession.
“The job of controlling the industry is only given to the NBC. It is solely the job of the NBC to define who a broadcaster should be and not any other body. The Commission is already empowered by the NBC Act to establish a broadcast institute. Therefore, we submittee this for your consideration and further action. The Commission is committed to its already assigned responsibility of sanitising the industry by making it more professional,” the DG said.
However, speaking at the hearing, Mansur Liman, Vice-Chair of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, highlighted the importance of the bill while emphasising that it does not conflict with the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
“The Society of Nigerian Broadcasters is not to regulate the broadcasting sector; the business of regulating and managing of the spectrum and monitoring of the content is primarily the job of the National Broadcasting Commission, as assigned to it by Law. What the Societies of Nigerian Broadcasters (SNB) stands for is the meeting point for the practicians to discuss the profession, and current trends in the sector, through annual conferencing, forums and training, as is the practice in other professions,” he explained.
Former Director-General of the National Television Authority (NTA) and Channels Television, Prof. Tony Iredia, strongly disagreed with the NBC, hedging their augment on the need for proper management of Information and accountability of media in line with current realities.
“It is essential for us to appreciate the role of media in society. I am delighted that this bill is encouraging broadcasters to act professionally, unlike other committees that continue to prohibit the use of media without reference,” Iredia added.
At the hearing, Tony Dara, Representative of Channels TV, said the SNB should be allowed to create a standard of employment, contracts for employees, create income benchmark and a peer mechanism to review standards and develop a source of feedback for practicians.