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Hate Speech: Defaulting Radio, TV stations now to pay N5m fine, says Lai Mohammed

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has recommended for an upward review of the stipulated fine for broadcast infractions through hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency from N500,000 to N5million.

The minister, who made the recommendation in a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja, said the decision was in keeping with the National Campaign Against Fakes News and Hate Speech, which we launched last July.

Mr Mohammed said: “Within the context of that campaign, I recently launched an effort to rid our airwaves of fake news and hate speech.

“Specifically, I set up a committee on the implementation of the recommendations that were approved by Mr. President to inject sanity into the nation’s broadcast industry, following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.”

According to him, some of the highlights of the recommendations include the independence of NBC from political interference in the exercise of its regulatory powers, particularly with respect to the issuance and withdrawal of broadcasting license.

Others are a review of the National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect the following amendments; a willful repeat of infractions on three occasions after levying fine on a station will attract suspension of license.

The minister added that the breach of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments had been upgraded to ”Class A” offense in the Broadcasting Code, as well as an amendment of the NBC Act to enable NBC license WebTv and radio stations.

Mr Mohammed stated that more monitoring staff for NBC must be recruited, just as he said that at the moment, there were only about 200 Staff monitoring about 1,000 radio and television stations.

There should be, “deployment of adequate monitoring equipment and technologies for the NBC and, enhancement of welfare packages of NBC staff to avoid their compromise in the line of duty,” the minister added.

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