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New Broadcast Code Unworkable and Unenforceable- Okoroji

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Chief Tony Okoroji, chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), has joined the stakeholders in the creative and broadcast industries calling for a revisit of the recently amended 6th edition of the National Broadcasting Code.

New Broadcast Code Unworkable and Unenforceable- Okoroji

Chief Tony Okoroji, chairman, COSON

Okoroji made the call while speaking on both News Scope with Patrick Doyle, Silverbird Television’s flagship public affairs programme; and The Morning Show on Arise News.

According to Okoroji, the code’s stated objective of increasing Nigerians’ participation in the creation and dissemination of broadcast content, is commendable.

However, he stated that the amendments to code have been drafted in a way that makes them unworkable and unenforceable, as they carry the potential for unending litigation and risk for significant divestment from the creative space.

The COSON chief said the drafters of the code may have acted ultra vires, as they appear to be minded to place a subsidiary legislation above the constitution, which implies an attempt to usurp the powers of the National Assembly to make laws.

He noted that some provisions of the code may be unconstitutional, notably those on content exclusivity, advertising and payment of royalties for musical works and sound recordings.

He observed that the drafters seek to treat the rights of parties in to a contract to agree on their terms with indifference.

Okoroji, a reputed intellectual property expert, expressed concern that the NBC did not take input from many key stakeholders, who will be impacted by the code, before or during the amendment process, which he said took place when movement was restricted by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Others who have called for a revisit of the code include Mr. Lolu Akinwunmi, former chairman, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), who said many issues the code seeks to address are already adequately covered by the APCON Code. He called on the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, to reconstitute the APCON Council, which can better deal with the issues related to advertising.

Also, Mr. Chris Ehindero, an independent movie producer, said the code will kill investments in the creative space at a time the industry is about to start enjoying investments in big productions. Similarly, Mr. Richard Akinnola, a renowned journalist and Director, Media Law Centre, said the code cannot withstand legal scrutiny.

The Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (IBAN) has also asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to suspend the implementation of the amended 6th broadcasting code.

On The Morning Show on Arise News, Okoroji said that he suspects that the hold that MultiChoice has on the English Premiership is driving some of the provisions in the revised code.

He suggested that some Nigerian broadcasting stations should pull their resources together and challenge MultiChoice rather than going it alone.

He complained about the recent penchant of Nigerians to attack Nigerian companies with foreign origins, saying that such may lead to serious divestment in Nigeria and massive loss of jobs held by Nigerians.

“MultiChoice may have originated from South Africa, but Multichoice Nigeria is a Nigerian company. The Chairman of the company, Mr. Adewumi Ogunsanya, is a Nigerian; the CEO, Mr. John Ugbe, is a Nigerian.

“Thousands of Nigerians make their living through MultiChoice. What do we gain by hounding the company?


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Public Outcry as Mohammed, NBC Ignore Stakeholders to Unveil NBC Code

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Despite widespread stakeholder disapproval, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information, on Tuesday, presented the 6th National Broadcasting Code recently released by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Public Outcry as Mohammed, NBC Ignore Stakeholders to Unveil NBC Code

 Mohammed described the controversial document, presented in Lagos, as “signed, sealed and delivered”.

Since 27 May when it was proposed by the NBC, industry stakeholders have been critical of many of its provisions, which were deemed draconian, with the NBC facing allegations of straying into areas over which it has no jurisdiction.

Considered most irksome by stakeholders are provisions seeking to regulate content exclusivity, mandate content sharing and empower the NBC to determine prices at which content is sold to sub-licensees by rights holders. Notable critics of the code include Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who described the code as “strangulatory” rather than regulatory; Jason Njoku, CEO of IrokoTV, who branded it as “quasi-socialism” and a means of subsidising inefficiency in the industry.

Fielding questions from journalists, Mohammed said the new code makes it mandatory for broadcasters to share content rights with competitors, claiming that the code does not infringe on the copyright of right holders. 

 He also claimed that the prohibition of exclusivity is not new to Nigerian broadcasting.

“Nigerian Copyright Commission Act actually makes it mandatory that if you buy a right, you must sell that right to whoever wants to buy at a price to be agreed by the parties. By bringing it into the code, we are simply reinforcing the law.

“The truth is that all the giants of the day, Amazon, Nextflix and iTunes started by sublicensing to become what they are.

“It is only here in Africa that we buy rights and hold it to ourselves,” said Mohammed.

 On the allegation that the NBC is straying into areas over which it has no control, especially advertising regulation and debts, the minister claimed that as the apex broadcast industry regulator, it is the duty of the NBC to ensure a sustainable, qualitative and profitable industry.

“Just like CBN ensures you can’t owe one bank and seek loan in another without paying your debt, we are also prohibiting advertisers from short-changing content creators and owners. Content drives advertising and we don’t want a backlog of debts to cripple the media houses. And when the media houses are not being paid, we the regulator cannot get our fees,” said the minister.

Industry stakeholders have also branded the code as agenda-driven, noting that they were excluded from making input before the code was finalised and described its unveiling as an ambush.

A content creator, who craved anonymity, said the invitation to the presentation was silent on the fact that the code would be unveiled.

“The invitation simply said it was a press briefing, which would see the acting Director-General of the NBC speak on matters arising within the industry. That should tell you they just sneaked it in on the industry,” the content creator said.

 

 


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FG Hikes Hate Speech Fine from N500, 000 to N5m

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Federal government has raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million and mandated broadcast stations to devote airtime for public education on emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

FG Hikes Hate Speech Fine from N500, 000 to N5m

Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and culture, stated this while unveiling the Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos.

Mohammed said the amendments were necessitated by a Presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections for an inquiry into the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after elections.

The minister noted that the recommendations were approved by the President Mohammed Buhari, to reposition the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising, and anti-competitive behaviour.

Mohammed, who explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code, said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content.

“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content.

“The law on registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.

“The provision on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.

“The provision raising the fine for hate speech from N500,000 Naira to N5 million.”

He added, “The Broadcasting Code is not a static document. As we often say, broadcasting is dynamic. Therefore, even the 6th Edition of the Code shall be reviewed at the appropriate time. But, as it currently stands, the 6th edition and the amendments, which we are unveiling today, remain the regulations for broadcasting in Nigeria.

“For those who still have misgivings about the amendment to the 6th Edition of the Code, we expect you to meet with the regulator and present your views. As I said, there are opportunities for constant review of the Code, but please note that this latest amendment is signed, sealed and delivered, and we are committed to making it work for the good of the country.”


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Phillips Consulting Launches Micro-Courses to Boost Learning for the Future of Work in Nigeria

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In order to improve learning for the future of work in the country, Philips Consulting, has launched a microservices platform tagged Micro-Courses to help entrepreneurs, ideapreneurs and big corporate boost learning of work in Nigeria.

Launched in Lagos recently, Micro courses is a tool that seeks to drive the reskilling of ecosystems and support diverse communities, with interactive platforms that bridge the transition gap into the future.

Work as it is known, has always poised to undergo a massive transformation driven by several developments. It has been characterized by conflicting information and rooted behaviors for almost a decade.

This left plenty of room for debates across the advancement of technology, the talent evolution, the data boom, and more. The reality, however, is that the transformation of work is painting an even bigger picture than we envisioned or planned for. The creative destruction of Coivd-19 has ultimately led to an acceleration of said changes and workplaces have been taken over by radical innovation.

Fokanferanmi Okojie, senior Consultant Learning Innovation at Philips Consulting, said, “Several mega-trends are bringing a radical shift to the way we work, live and learn.

“We are looking, listening, learning and creating banisters for all genres of the corporate world to transition smoothly on the unprecedented path to the future of work”

Despite emergence from the pandemic lockdown, he said, “Our unemployment rates are skyrocketing daily, youth are shaken and those currently employed are clearly unprepared for the future that is speedily presenting itself.”

“The systems designed to support learning at all levels are just as inadequately prepped for the change.

“The quality of our long-term professional talent pool is dwindling and the influx of youths into the workforce only fails deeper when they are on-boarded to a corporate system with no plan for the future of work,” Okojie said.

According to Nwaji Jibunoh, head of Training at Philips Consulting, “Nigeria is at the inflection point where the name of the new game is how best prepared you are for the future.

“Upskilling yourself will no longer be about fulfilling requirements but about survival”.

Jibunoh stated that as technology continues to evolve and adoption accelerated, moving closer and closer towards fully automated systems, the future of work and the emerging technology skill sets required, are no longer conversations for tomorrow, but rather, for today.

COVID-19 has forced us to re-imagine the way that we work digitally, and it has brought reality into our lives in many unimaginable ways. The growth of the digital workplace will continue unabated.

Meanwhile, Rob Taiwo, managing director of Philips Consulting, said, “Covid-19 has accelerated the rate of technology adoption. Recent pandemic GDP indicators in Nigeria suggest that we will continue to see ICT growth.”

“However, whilst we expect the impact to remain fairly low in the manufacturing sector, we can expect major disruption in financial services and logistics.

“Policy change and training are powerful tools that the public and private sector can use to prepare human capital for the impending disruption”, he said.

As an innovative and tech driven company, Phillips Consulting has developed a solution that shall address the challenges this current environment faces, adding that the pcl. Micro Courses is a Virtually led interactive learning intervention.”

Taiwo said, “Our learning team will psychometrically profile learners and guide them to courses they genuinely need for their development.

Every course offered is an opportunity to interact with hundreds of minds per bite-sized session and active learners are prioritized into the pcl. talent pool for job opportunities.

These courses will inspire, educate and shape learning for the future, whilst disrupting a stagnant career trajectory.”

 


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