The Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) has asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to suspend the implementation of the amended 6th broadcasting code.
In a statement on Wednesday, Guy Murray-Bruce, the association’s secretary, said the amendment should be subjected to a new round of wide stakeholder consultation to avoid a legal crisis.
He said the committee in charge of the amendment did not circulate a draft of its work to stakeholder groups before its ratification.
“We at The Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) wish to make a few observations which will touch on issues of stakeholder consultations, the committee’s terms of reference vis a vis its outcome and the practicality of the amendments as enunciated,” he said.
“First of all as a vital organ of the broadcasting value chain we feel that we deserved a seat on the committee. Granted that IBAN is a part of BON, we still needed to be represented on the committee in our capacity as private sector investors in broadcasting.
“We believe that the fact that as a body the committee didn’t deem it fit to avail us with a draft of its findings before formalizing its ratification with Mr. President’s approval is somewhat demeaning. We also find that the presumably inadvertent timing of the release of the amendments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic fears may have hampered our ability as a group to internally consult and express our views.
“We strongly feel that a draft of the committee’s work ought to have been circulated to stakeholder groups before its ratification. On the issue of the committee’s terms of reference, we find that the amendments do not reflect the core issues highlighted by the minister in his terms of reference which in the main centered on licensing of Web TV, recruitment of monitoring staff and allied issues.
“We all the same have reservations as to the practicality of implementing the amendments in their present form. We have observed what we believe could be areas of possible conflict with other government agencies due to overlapping mandates. We most humbly submit that the NBC hold off on the implementation of the amendments at this time. Indeed we recommend that a new round of wide stakeholder consultation be embarked upon.”
A call for position papers on the amendments to the broadcasting code by the board of the NBC had led to a controversy.
Armstrong Idachaba, director-general of the NBC, issued a statement disowning the call for position papers on the amendments.
Ikra Bilbis, chairman of the commission’s board, had in a notice called for the papers on the amendments over concerns he said were raised by stakeholders.