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Nigerian government moves to regulate social media, says it’s a monster

The Federal Government has sent a bill seeking to regulate Nigeria’s social media space to the national assembly, noting that the space has become a monster.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) director-general, Balarabe Ilelah, made this known when he hosted Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, at the commission’s headquarters on Tuesday.

The commission is specifically seeking to repeal and reenact the NBC act, CAP L11 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.

According to Ilelah, the current law does not give the NBC the right to regulate social media.

“We want to tell you that a bill for an act to repeal and amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act, CAP L11 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004, to accommodate the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting service, also to promote quality audio and video, efficient management of the spectrum, Nigeria Broadcast Institute, social media regulation and related matters has been read for the first time on the floor of the national assembly,” he said.

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“All these that are mentioned are not captured in the present act of the commission. We have already submitted a bill to amend the act.

“One of our major problems now is social media. Unless there is a law that allows NBC to act on social media issues, the issue will continue to be a monster in our daily lives in this country.”

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Ilelah said the commission has the right to punish any broadcaster in line with the act establishing NBC.

“We have powers, we derive our powers from the act, and we have the powers to sanction stations. We don’t want to sanction, we prefer to bring them together for negotiation, for understanding,” he said.

“We only apply sanctions when there is no way out of it. We don’t want the stations or the stakeholders to see NBC as an enemy. If you mention NBC anywhere, the first impression is sanctions.

“In 2023, a total of 1,238 warnings were given, while during the same year, six different stations were penalised.”

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On his part, the information minister said the NBC should work with the media so they do not see the commission as “punitive”.


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