Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed on Thursday, revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved hike of fine for hate speech from N500, 000 to N5million.
The minister who made this known when he inaugurated a seven-man committee to implement reforms in the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), also announced that online news platforms will now be regulated.
Members of the committee whose job description centers on implementing reforms in the NBC include; Armstrong Idachaba, NBC director of monitoring (chairman); Godfrey Ohuabunwa, acting chairman of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
Others are J.K. Ehicheoya, director, legal services, ministry of information and culture; Binta 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).
Mohammed said Buhari approved the upward review of the 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:
“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.