Review of Amended 6th Edition of Nigeria Broadcasting Code
Recently, the Nigerian government announced amendments to the 6th edition of the Nigerian broadcasting code. The amendments, as published in the media, make provisions for local content in the broadcast industry, increased advertising revenue for local broadcast stations and content producers, and creates far-reaching restrictions with regards to monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour. Highlighted below are some of the key provisions of the Code.
The objectives are: to maintain and promote fair and efficient market standards and effective competition in the Nigerian broadcast industry; to prevent the misuse of monopoly or anti-competitive and unfair practices by broadcasters or licensees or facility providers or equipment suppliers in the broadcast industry; to establish codes of practice relating to content acquisition, sharing of content rights for rebroadcasting and technical standards for media services; and to regulate standards of fair market and monitor compliance with such codes.
The Code mandates all persons who wish to operate web/online broadcasting in Nigeria to be registered with the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and to ensure their contents do not breach the standards of hate speech and fake news. Where they fail, they are liable to such sanctions as are provided in the Code, including a take-down order, a block, or shutdown order.
For a program to qualify as local content, its conceptualization, production, and target company shall be carried out by Nigerians. Similarly, the producer, director, author, a minimum of 75% of leading actors and supporting cast must be Nigerians. Further, a minimum of 75% of the program expenses and 75% of post-production expenses are paid for services, and such services must have been provided by Nigerians or Nigerian companies not subject to foreign ownership or arbitrary interference. Where the production is a collaboration with a foreign entity, the producer(s) are to ensure that Nigerian production locations, talents, skills set form a minimum of 75% of the entire production. For subscription-based services, they are to ensure that a minimum of 15% of their channel acquisition budget is spent on channels with local content.
Before a broadcaster can use an artistic work by way of publishing performance, production, reproduction, translation, broadcast and/or making of a cinematograph film or a record in respect of a musical by a broadcaster, the broadcaster is to obtain the necessary license and pay the required fees to the owner or exclusive licensee as well as to the necessary Collective Management Organisation (CMO). It is unclear why the broadcaster still has to interface with the owner or exclusive licensee when in fact, the CMO is to put up a common front for artists in that space. However, failure to obtain such licenses amounts to an offence under the Code, without prejudice to other punitive or remedial measures that are available under the Copyrights Act.