The federal government has approved wide ranging reforms in the broadcast industry, including the licensing of online radio and television stations.
The minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, disclosed this when he received members of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) on a courtesy visit to him in Abuja on Friday.
A statement issued by the special assistant on media to the minister, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, said Mohammed stated this while responding to a request made by BON for the review of the Broadcasting Code.
“I just want to use this opportunity to inform you that Mr. President has actually already approved a review of the Broadcast Code that is going to take care of many of the issues you have already raised here.
“In particular, the President has approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry. Mr. President has also approved a wide range of reforms in the industry which, at the appropriate platform, I will let you know,” he said.
According to the statement, the minister also promised to carry along members of BON in the review of the Broadcasting Code.
Restating the commitment of the federal government administration to free the media, the minister said, “I have said it on many platforms that this administration is not about to gag the press. No! But we will appeal to the press to please self-regulate for the sake of this country and also for the sake of the industry itself.”
Mohammed appealed to BON to partner with the government in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and cohesion in order to engender progress and national development.
“Today, if anybody listens to what is being said on some radio or television stations, you will think that this country is at war or that Christians actually cannot live with Muslims or that there is a dichotomy between the North and the South. I think we need to appeal to you to use your platforms for the unity and cohesion of the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the acting chairman of BON, Mr. Godfrey Ohuabunwa, described Mohammed’s re-appointment as “deserving” saying the minister brought life and great innovation to the broadcast industry during the first tenure of the administration.
He pledged BON’s readiness of BON to key to the government’s agenda, especially the fight against fake news.