…Urges Commission to address marginalisation of
Northern broadcast industry
By Aminu Imam
The Vice-Chairman, Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN), Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan, has expressed the full support of the association over its recent advisory and cautioning of television, radio stations against glamourising insecurity situation in the country.
Dr. Ramalan, who is alao the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association, (NBMOA), stated this during a
presentation of a position paper on critical issues facing the broadcast industry at the Zonal meeting of the North-West broadcast stakeholders and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, (NBC), which was held in Kano, on Monday.
Recall that NBC had last month urged Nigerian broadcast operators, mainly radio and TV broadcasters against glamourising the activities of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers, citing that too many details may have an adverse implication on the war against insecurity.
According to Dr. Ramalan, “We fully support the NBC’s advisory that cautioned stations to not glamourise the nefarious activities of enemies of the Nigerian State, either through news or current affairs discussion programmes. This, we believe, is in our national interest”.
Some of the critical areas the IBAN V-C addressed in his presentation were critical Broadcast Media issues which include: “The Review of the NBC Act – A Bill Before the National Assembly“; the NBC Broadcasting Code 6th Edition; Class ‘A’ Sanctions, amongst others.
However, Dr. Ramalan, who is the Executive Chairman, ATAR Communications Nigeria Ltd., (Owners and Operators of Liberty TV & FM Radio Stations), lamented that the northern broadcast industry is grossly marginalised compared to its southern counterpart when assessed using the MultiChoice Premium DSTV and GOTV platforms.
His words: “The North is the biggest in terms of landmass and the most populous geo-political region of our country Nigeria; however, a quick look into the MultiChoice Premium DSTV platform shows a marginalised northern region of the country.
“A review of the channel owners on DSTV shows that eminent professionals in the broadcasting industry that are from the North are grossly marginalised, even when they have the large audiences to reach with quality content.
“Liberty TV, for instance, has over the years generated quality programmes, ensured accuracy and fairness in presentation, provides in-depth analysis of news and current affairs, and above all respects and promotes the values of its audiences.
“About 70% of our programmes are in Hausa language and the other 30% in English and Pidgin English. We have carved a niche for ourselves in the marketplace, which stands us out in the industry and commands the respect of other colleagues in the industry.
“Satellite broadcasting, which MultiChoice Nigeria Limited is a major player, provides an essential tool for economic, educational and social transformation. These are the tools that we, as a station, want to put in the houses, fields and residences of our Hausa-speaking populace, by adequately informing them in a language they understand the most, can easily relate with and are most comfortable with.
“In turn, we believe that by having LibertyTV and other Northern TV stations on DSTV, and GOTV, we can confidently reach/inform a greater number of people in the country and across Hausa speaking audiences in other parts of Africa and the Diaspora.
“The Hausa language, which is widely spoken in Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and with a growing number of students in England, Malaysia, United States, South Africa and Cyprus, etc., has made it imperative for it to be on-boarded on the MultiChoice platforms, particularly in the rendering of news and current affairs, in addition to culture and lifestyle content”, he emphasised.
On the NBC Broadcasting Code 6th Edition, Dr. Ramalan said there is a need to review the meeting of critical stakeholders on its contentious areas between the Information Minister, NBC Board and Management, between the NBC, PayTV Operators and Broadcasters as well as the implementation of the much-awaited Public Service broadcast, Commercial/Private broadcasting/Community broadcasting Policy, as enshrined in the new Code.
Also, commenting on the issue of the Digital Switch-Over (DSO)TV license fees, Dr. Ramalan lamented that with the migration from analogue to digital, the amount which the NBC is demanding is on the high side.
He said, “It is imperative that the Director-General reviews the Business Model being executed by the Commission on the DSO for an urgent change to speed up the DSO process and timetable”.
The IBAN Vice Chairman also extended the association’s goodwill and congratulations to the NBC Director-General, Alhaji Balarabe Illelah, on his well-deserved appointment and wished him success in his assignment.