FG Seeks Law For Social Media, Online Regulation

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The Federal Government is seeking legal backing to regulate social media in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,  said this in Abuja Wednesday at a public hearing on a bill to amend the National Broadcasting Commission Act, organsed by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.

He also stressed the need to exempt the NBC from the Treasury Single Account to enhance its operation.

He stressed the need for the National Assembly to amend the existing NBC law to include internet broadcast and all online media broadcast in the country.

However, the International Press Council (IPC), the Institute for Media and Society as well as the Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) kicked against inclusion of internet broadcast and online media IN the category of broadcast service licenses, saying it would be injurious to the civic space, freedom of expression and media freedom.

They called for full independence for the NBC to operate as a full regulator rather than being subservient to the whims and caprices of the executive arm.

Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society, Dr Akin Akingbulu, said the ‘most prominent gap’ in the NBC Act was its failure to provide for independence as a regulatory body for the commission, thus giving room for political interference in its activities.

Executive Director, IPC, Lanre Arogundade, said opposed the moves to empower the NBC to fix tariffs for pay Tvs,  adding that fixing tariffs arbitrarily could lead to excessive pricing that has the potential of discouraging investment in the sector and the attendant job losses.

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