The Federal Government has called on the House of Representatives to enact a law to regulate social and on-line media in Nigeria.
This call was made by the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, at a public hearing organised by the house yesterday.
Lai Mohammed asked the lawmakers to amend the National Broadcasting Commission, (NBC), Act to empower the agency to regulate social and on-line media.
This is coming six days after NBC asked all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast licence.
The public hearing was organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, on a Bill to amend the NBC Act.
Section 2 (b) of the NBC Act states: “(1) The Commission shall have the responsibility of: Receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations including (i) cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting”.
The minister, however, wants the commission to also be able to regulate the online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.
His words: “I want to add here specifically that internet broadcasting and all on-line media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor contents, including Twitter”.
At the public hearing, media stakeholders kicked against the move and asked the house panel to make the NBC more independent of the minister of information.
In their joint submission, the International Press Centre (IPC), and the Centre for Media Law and Advocacy, said the appointment of the NBC Board should be subject to the confirmation of the National Assembly.