A media development advocate and Executive Director International Press Centre (IPC), Mr. Lanre Arogundade, has applauded the recent judgment of a Lagos Federal High Court, nullifying the proposed amendment to the 6th edition of the National Broadcasting Code, issued by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The former Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Chapter, in an exclusive interview with Brands & Marketing, on the issue, described the judgment as an affirmation and reinforcement of the Centre’s and stakeholders’ position on the Code.
He described the revised Code as overbearing and undemocratic, noting that some of its provisions encroached on the functions of other organs or agencies of government, also performing regulatory functions.
The IPC’s boss added that the Centre found the judgment more soothing; since it also affirmed the Centre’s earlier argument that some provisions in the amended Code, encroached into the functions of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).
He therefore appealed to NBC to respect the court’s judgment, by allowing NCC to perform its statutory obligations, while it focuses on professional regulation of the nation’s broadcast space.
“The judgment affirms or reinforces our position that the provisions of the NBC Code were too over-bearing, undemocratic, and, in some instances, encroached on the functions of other organs or agencies of government, which also perform regulatory functions, and which should be allowed to do their work in relation to such issue as advertising.
“It is in the enlightened interest of NBC to obey the judgment, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t. But it will be advisable for NBC to step down on this matter at this stage, and look at the procedure and see what they can do. There is no way they can regulate the broadcast industry, without having the support of the major stakeholders in the industry. And if they continue to pursue this case, they will continue to isolate the constituencies they are supposed to be working with,” he stated.
Arogundade also stressed the need for regulators to ensure that regulations conform with the principle of press freedom, noting that regulation of the broadcasting industry must not be done in such a way that it strangulates businesses in the space.
Following outcries from stakeholders over the amendments to the 6th edition of the National Broadcasting Code, unveiled by Nigerian Broadcasting Commission on May 27, 2020, and subsequent decision of a stakeholder, Mr. Femi Davies to challenge the amendments in court, the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court recently ruled that the Commission acted beyond its powers by seeking to regulate the practice of advertising in Nigeria.