The Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Balarabe Illelah, and former NTA Director-General, Prof. Tony Iredia, yesterday disagreed over a Bill to establish the Society of Nigeria Broadcasters, (SNB).
The duo expressed their disagreement at a public hearing in Abuja, organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.
The public hearing is on: “A Bill for an Act to provide for the regulation and conduct of the practice of the broadcasting profession in Nigeria”.
Illelah said that there was no need for the bill, adding that there could not be two regulatory bodies governing broadcasting in the country. He said that the NBC was saddled with the responsibility of regulating the conduct of members who are broadcasting practitioners, adding that the regulation duty is only given to the NBC. He further said that the proposed institute by the SNB should not be established without the input of the NBC which regulates the entire industry.
According to him, the NBC shall have the power to nominate members to regulate the activities of this institute and provide an academic guide. “The commission is already empowered to establish a broadcast institute and responsible for sanitising the industry”, he said.
Reacting, Iredia said that there was a need to talk about how the media could self-regulate and not the government involvement. He said: “All that NBC has said was good, but they are not aware that there is a need to update the old system. There is nothing wrong in amending the NBC Act. In fact, it is better to do so now, because NBC has not given us any hope of regulating the media”.
According to him, the Bill was imperative to appreciate the importance of the media in the nation, adding that if no measure is taken, the country will be returning to the colonial era. He said that the Bill was specific to members acting professionally while adding that law making in the media era must completely jettison the obsolete one. He said the media has moved, we are no longer talking about information dissemination but the management of information.
He further said that the Bill was about looking at the idea of regulation, which is to self-regulate.
Similarly, the Director-General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and Vice-Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Mansur Liman, said the Bill would bring together those practising broadcasting in the country for better performance.