Nigerian Broadcasting Commission Proposes Bill to Tackle Social Media Challenges

In a bid to address the evolving landscape of media and communication, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has sent a bill to the National Assembly seeking to repeal and reenact the existing NBC act. The proposed bill aims to equip the NBC with the necessary tools to regulate social media platforms and effectively manage the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.

During a meeting at the NBC headquarters, Balarabe Ilelah, the Director-General of the NBC, expressed his concerns about social media by referring to it as a “monster.” He emphasized that the current legislation does not grant the NBC the authority to regulate social media platforms, which has become one of the major challenges faced by the commission and the country as a whole.

Ilelah explained, “We are pleased to inform you that a bill for an act to repeal and amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) act has been introduced in the national assembly. This bill has been drafted to address various important aspects, including the transition to digital broadcasting, enhancement of audio and video quality, efficient spectrum management, establishment of the Nigeria Broadcast Institute, social media regulation, and other related matters that are not adequately covered in the existing act. Social media poses a significant challenge, and without appropriate legislation empowering the NBC to address these issues, it will continue to negatively impact our daily lives.”

While the NBC aims to maintain a collaborative approach with broadcasters and stakeholders, prioritizing negotiations and understanding, Ilelah disclosed that in 2023, the commission had to issue 1,238 warnings and impose penalties on six different stations due to violations. The proposed bill seeks to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework that enables the NBC to effectively address social media-related concerns while upholding responsible broadcasting practices.

This bill reflects the NBC’s recognition of the transformative power and influence of social media in Nigeria’s media landscape. By seeking to regulate social media, the NBC endeavours to strike a balance between freedom of expression and the need to protect against misinformation and hate speech, among other potential challenges associated with online content dissemination. The bill will now proceed through the legislative process in the National Assembly, where it will be reviewed and debated before any potential amendments to the regulatory framework are made.

Senegal Demands Agreement with TikTok, Maintains Ban Pending Resolution

In Senegal, authorities have upheld the ban on popular social media app TikTok, insisting that the company must sign an agreement that establishes a mechanism for removing accounts. The country’s communications minister, Moussa Bocar Thiam, announced during a press conference that the restriction would remain in place until a comprehensive written agreement is reached. The government is currently engaged in discussions with TikTok to address their concerns.

The ban on TikTok was implemented in August following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko. Authorities claimed that the platform was being used to disseminate “hateful and subversive messages” that posed a threat to the country’s stability. The political tension between Sonko, the leader of the Pastef party, and President Macky Sall had previously sparked violent demonstrations in June, tarnishing Senegal’s reputation as the most stable democracy in West Africa.

In their ongoing discussions with TikTok, the Senegalese government has emphasised the need for improved regulation of the platform. They have raised questions regarding the platform’s algorithm and data protection measures. Additionally, the government has called for fair remuneration for content creators, aiming to provide young people with the opportunity to earn a livelihood through social media.

As the discussions continue, the ban on TikTok will remain in effect, underscoring the government’s commitment to resolving the issues at hand and ensuring the platform’s compliance with their requirements.


Source: Reuters