By Wale Odunsi
Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, has condemned the attack on him over the amended 6th edition of the National Broadcasting Code (NBC).
Mohammed said the position of the federal government was that Pay Television owners must sell rights to Nigerians.
He spoke on NTA live Programme “Good Morning Nigeria” monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The amended code introduces new rules and regulations on web/online broadcasting, local contents, production of advertising for local goods and services, music, acquisition of sports rights, exclusivity and national emergencies.
Mohammed says it will reposition the broadcast industry in a manner that will benefit all stakeholders and practitioners.
“It is unfortunate that even those who would benefit in the new regime have been so carried away and confused by critics of the amended code that they are also attacking us. Those we are protecting are those who are vociferous in our attack,” he said.
The minister noted that when there is monopoly and exclusivity, growth is hampered particularly as it relates to local contents.
“We said, henceforth, you cannot go and buy a series or opera or rights for sports and refuse to sell to Nigerians. For instance, if you buy Premier League, and a small operator approaches you to resell, you must resell to him.
“We will not dictate the price at which you are going to resell but you must resell at a price to be agreed by both parties. It is only in Africa that you have exclusivity and monopoly of contents as a business model. In the UK, you watch premier league on any channel,” he said.
Mohammed explained that the amended code also ensures that, in sport, when an advertiser spends about one million dollar in promoting foreign league, the advertiser must also invest 30 percent of that one million dollar in promoting the local league.
Furthermore, the code ensures that films, music, advertisement and series meant for consumption by Nigerians must be made in Nigeria.
“You cannot go and make your advertisement, films or reality show outside Nigeria and bring it to play on our airwaves. Why must you go outside Nigeria to make a film or advertisement that can be done in Nigeria,” he added.
The minister stated that the code stipulates that if an advertiser owes a TV station money, such advertiser cannot place advert on another channel until the indebtedness is cleared.