Distinguished colleagues of the Media!
I will like to welcome you all to this press conference. I want to start by wishing you all a very fulfilling and happy New Year 2018. And in the words of the old Chinese curse, may we all live in interesting times. These, indeed, are very interesting times in the world, and in our country in particular. For all of us in the media, the tempo of activities will certainly pick up, especially in the terrain of politics, in 2018. Our responsibility to help the people understand the fast-paced changes around us, will therefore be greater. That’s reason to remind us all of our ethical responsibilities and the canons of professionalism.
You will recall that last year, I had cause to brief you periodically on our Implementation of the Digitization process in Nigeria.
Those of you who are following the process would have witnessed the roll out of the DSO in two more states, namely Kaduna and Kwara at the end of 2017.
The roll out in Kwara and kaduna brought the number of states now switched on to four. We are committed to roll out in many more states this year. We have already scheduled Monday the 12th of February 2018 for the switch on for Enugu state. Similarly February 23rd has been affirmed for the switch on in Osun state. And as we speak, our second national signal distributor, Pinnacle Communications Limited, have moved to site in Delta state, and are also packed up for work in Gombe state.
We have also scheduled to Switch on 6 more states , one each from the 6 geo-political regions, during this year, 2018. We envisage that by the end of the third quarter of 2018, we would have switched on in 12 states around Nigeria. We are steadily implementing this new digital broadcasting process. I will like to commend stakeholders in the implementation process for the new resolve. to work together towards a common good. The new resolve has given the process the needed impetus.
At a recent retreat in Uyo, to review the progress of the DSO , the industry took some major steps which we believe will further guarantee a seamless transition. Each player now understands more clearly, the roles they play in the DSO eco-system. We have also consciously delineated revenue streams for all players, an issue which was the basis for some of the rancor that existed before . The broadcasters, signal distributors, content aggregator, Set top Box manufacturers are all on the same page now, to help strengthen the work of delivering the DSO. NBC has also informed the pay DTT operators, GOTV and NTA/STAR TIMES, to begin discussions with the two signal distributors, ITS and Pinnacle Communications. This is because, in line with the Government White Paper on the Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting, after June 2019, these pay DTT operators would no longer be licensed to operate as both content providers and signal distributors. Similarly, we are going to also begin a phased Analogue Switch Off (ASO), in Plateau state and the FCT, by the end of the First Quarter of 2018. And as part of acceleration of the work, we have commenced the digital mapping of Nigeria. It is a process, that would help to give clarity to the entire DSO process. At another level, NBC has submitted a long list of new radio and television stations to President Muhammad’s Buhari, for presidential assent. The President has always been encouraging the NBC to open up accesses for Nigerians to be able to register newer radio and television stations, because of his belief that they help to deepen democratic discourse, while also helping to create new jobs through the broadcasting value chain.
Permit me my dear colleagues, to also take your time to remind our broadcasters, that as we approach the electioneering period, stations must do everything professional to promote democracy. Broadcasters are reminded that they have a duty to respect all extant laws related to the reportage and coverage of the electoral process. Don’t broadcast campaigns when the period for commencement of campaigns have not commenced. We are disturbed by the pattern of insensitive and inflammatory broadcasts emanating from some broadcast stations, especially in their coverage of national crises, like the Herdsmen/Farmer crises. We have observed that some stations deliberately and repeatedly air very inciting contents long after the events break. We have warned stations that they must follow the tenets of the Broadcasting Code. Having warned broadcasters ,we shall follow up with appropriate sanctions should any station continue to violate the Broadcasting Code. Just yesterday, we released the sanctions profile for Nigerian broadcast stations for the 4th quarter of 2017. Many stations have been fined for hateful and inciting broadcast. (The list is already on our website). It is important to remind our presenters and so-called On-Air-Personalities (OAPs), that they must be professionally detached from the stories and reports of crises phenomena. They are to offer platforms for Nigerians to present all the sides to issues in the news, not become the subjects of these stories, as they are wont to doing on many programs. This is especially true of political programs on broadcast stations.
2018 will be a very busy year for us at the NBC. We will have a national conference on politics and hate speech, during which we hope to present the study we commissioned on Hate Speech. We will also present the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Finally, I will like to thank our media colleagues for your continued support for the work that we do at the NBC, especially your effort to help us continuously publicize the DSO process.
Distinguished colleagues, I want to thank you again for attending this press briefing.