The federal government has taken its struggle to control internet content in Nigeria to the National Assembly as the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, urged the federal lawmakers to grant the government powers to regulate internet contents.
The minister insisted that it was the responsibility of the government to monitor broadcast content even on the internet.
This is just as stakeholders in the media industry kicked against moves aimed at empowering the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to regulate tariffs charged by pay-TV operators.
The stakeholders also urged the National Assembly to whittle down the powers of NBC to unilaterally sanction broadcast stations, at the same time demanded that the proviso of 30-day notice before the NBC can be sued to court should be expunged from the proposed amendment to the NBC Act.
The minister, who stated the government’s position at a public hearing on a Bill to amend the National Broadcasting Act organised by the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values on Wednesday, urged the lawmakers to amend the existing NBC law to include censorship of internet broadcast and all online media broadcast in the country.
While speaking on the categories of licenses to be granted by the NBC, which include Cable television services, Direct Satellite broadcast, Direct to Home, IPTV Radio, EPG and Digital Terrestrial television, radio and television stations owned, established or operated by the federal, state and local governments; broadcast signal distribution; online broadcast, community broadcasting and public service broadcasting, the minister noted that internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in the list.
“I want to add here specifically that internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this, this is because we have the responsibility to monitor content, including Twitter,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), International Press Centre (IPC), and other stakeholders at the public hearing all kicked against certain provisions seeking excessive powers for the NBC.