TEXT OF THE OPENING ADDRESS PRESENTED BY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC), IS’HAQ MODIBBO KAWU, AT THE 2016 NATIONAL SUMMIT ON BROADCAST CONTENT & NATIONAL SECURITY. TUESDAY, JULY 26TH, 2016, EKO HOTELS, VICTORIA ISLAND, LAGOS

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PROTOCOLS:
On behalf of the Management and members of staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to welcome our array of very distinguished Nigerians from all walks of life, to the 2016 National Summit on Broadcast Content and National Security. I became the Director-General of the NBC at the end of May 2016. I feel happy that in the two months that I have been at the helm of affairs at our Commission, we have held our Broadcast Monitoring Conference, which ended last week in Ilorin, Kwara State. This National Summit on Broadcast Content and National Security is our second major gathering; and in a few weeks from now, we will gather in the second city that I reside in, Kaduna, to review the Nigerian Broadcasting Code. One of my dearest wishes as the DG of the NBC is to have a genuinely knowledge-driven institution, at par with its counterparts around the world. A broadcasting regulatory institution like ours must be at the cutting edge of developments in the challenging world of 21st Century broadcasting. And the challenge is no longer far away from us, especially with the hope that we have, to complete the Digital Switch Over (DSO), by June, 2017. We will immediately confront newer challenges that will task our abilities as an institution. I invite you for a moment, Ladies and Gentlemen, to reflect on a broadcasting scenario with tens upon tens of new television stations. They will purvey all manners of content, challenging our sensibilities, in ways that we probably cannot even begin to imagine today. Yet, broadcasting in general is not just about the technical realities of studios, transmitters or even the personnel; at its heart is CONTENT!
We are going to confront a paradox that we must begin to reflect upon from today. Digital Broadcasting will open tremendous opportunities for newer forms of content that will be available on so many new and existing channels. Nigerians are incredibly creative, and today, we have managed to create one of the most vibrant media and entertainment industries in the world. These are driven by the creative generations of young Nigerians, from all corners of Nigeria. The opportunities will multiply to have newer scriptwriters; directors; cameramen and women; lighting experts; producers and on-air personalities. The jobs that will follow the digital revolution will impact on the nation’s GDP and redound to the benefit of our country, and they will have far-reaching impact on communities in rural and urban Nigeria. These are the positive sides of the coin of BROADCAST CONTENT, in the era of Digital Broadcasting. These developments will also help us to consolidate the content of Nigeria’s democracy, with power not only residing in and with our people, but the people, and especially our very young people, offering diversity and variety, and using creativity to deepen our national integration; as well as exploring themes taken from our history and rich repertoire of cultures.
But there are potentially negative implications too. In the extreme, there are anti-state forces willing to take advantage of the openings becoming increasingly available to all of us, to subvert national security. Can broadcast content become an avenue to subvert national security? The possibilities are real, especially with what we have seen of secessionist groups in some parts of the country; they have set up radio stations broadcasting inciting and subversive content. There is also the terrorism of Boko Haram, and its recent efforts to even launch a radio station on the border between Nigeria and Cameroun, as reported in the past month, in the media. These groups are using the internet to post chauvinistic, unpatriotic and often subversive, content. They are contesting the spaces of our national history and seeking to win the minds of the young, with narratives and discourses that challenge our nationhood and wellbeing. As I said, these are the extreme ends of the BROADCAST CONTENT debacle. The lower end of the stratum is how good old NTBB (NOT TO BE BROADCAST) materials have continued to shift in directions that will give the pause to old school broadcasters like me. When I was recruited by Radio Nigeria, thirty-nine years ago, in 1977, CONTENT was EVERYTHING. We were cultured into a tradition of respect for the ethos of broadcasting; values which seemed to have become increasingly eroded, sadly, as most values have given way at several levels in our country.
This is the background to our 2016 National Summit on Broadcast Content & National Security. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), recognizes its responsibility to Nigeria. We realize the historic importance of the new phase that we would be entering with the 2017 Digital Switch Over (DSO); its exciting possibilities and the dangers that might be lurking in the process for national security. As you would have noticed, we have lined up an array of intellectuals and practitioners, to help us navigate this Summit. Our Commission is thinking of resourcefulness and insight, that would concentrate minds now and in the future, as we deal with issues like religion and ethnicity; family, the home and social well-being; the variety of cultures that waters the streams of our national cultures; diversity and mutual respect between individual citizens and people and communities; peaceful conduct; conflicts management; separatist agitations and insurgencies; the straining relations between sedentary farming communities and nomadic communities; problems of education of the young and the exposure to imperialist media content, to mention a few.
We take these issues very seriously at the NBC and consequently, about 55 members of staff, comprising of Directors; Deputy Directors; Assistant Directors as well as other members of staff, are part of this summit. We have also chosen Lagos to host this summit consciously. This remarkably vibrant city remains the capital of BROADCAST CONTENT and the heart of innovation. Lagos’ history as the center of the most vibrant media tradition in Tropical Africa has never been challenged. We hope that Lagos becomes the place where we all concentrate our minds to resolve in a positive manner, the emergent contradictions of the Digital media era, between Broadcast Content and National Security in our country. On behalf of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I welcome you all to this Summit. Thank You very much for your attention.

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