Professor of Broadcast Management and Media Law, Tonnie Iredia, says the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has hijacked the duties of the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission hence the hasty review of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
Iredia, who is a veteran journalist, said this on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday in his reaction to the controversy generated by the new fine for hate speech which was increased from N500,000 to N5m.
He said, “There is a major problem. Everybody expects a broadcasting commission to be an autonomous body that has no place in politics. If you listen to the news, who has been speaking? The Minister of Information. Is he the Director-General of the NBC?
“When the minister is speaking, there is no way broadcasters can see that the regulator is speaking. He is not a regulator. He should leave the broadcasters in the NBC to do their professional duty. The law gives him the right to supervise but not to take over the job.
“The moment the minister is speaking, no matter how well-intentioned he may be, the people become suspicious because he belongs to a political divide and whatever he says is likely to be used against the opposition and I think this is a natural thing.”