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29 Aug 2016

SPEECH BY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC), IS’HAQ MODIBBO KAWU, AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BROADCASTING ORGANIZATIONS OF NIGERIA (BON), LAGOS, TUESDAY, 23RD AUGUST, 2016


SPEECH BY DIRECTOR-GENERAL, NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (NBC), IS’HAQ MODIBBO KAWU, AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE BROADCASTING ORGANIZATIONS OF NIGERIA (BON), LAGOS, TUESDAY, 23RD AUGUST, 2016

PROTOCOLS:

On behalf of the Board of Management (BOM) and members of staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I want to thank you for inviting me to this gathering of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON). Let me first congratulate my dear friend, John Momoh, on his recent election as the Chairman of this most distinguished body of Nigeria’s broadcasting organizations. Our relationship dates back to the early 1980s, when we were young announcers and newsreaders on the Network Service of Radio Nigeria. Along with another colleague and friend, Frank Oshodi, we also attended the University of Lagos’ Department of Mass Communications together. Between 1997 and 2002, I served as Pioneer General Manager of the Kwara State Television, in Ilorin. In those five years, I actively participated in the work of the General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), with several members of a younger generation of General Managers from around Nigeria; one of them was Segun Olaleye, who was GM at Ogun State Television (OGTV). It is therefore a thing of joy, that my former colleague and friend, Segun Olaleye, is the Executive Secretary of BON today. I am therefore in the midst of friends and colleagues.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed me Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on May 25th, 2016. This is therefore my first official opportunity to meet with members of this very important stakeholder organization of Nigerian broadcasters. We would certainly get more opportunities, moving forwards to hold more structured meetings about several aspects of Nigeria’s broadcasting development. But I have no doubts in my mind, that all who are gathered here, are  aware of Nigeria’s most important task today; and that is the effort to achieve a complete transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting. We have a very tight timeline of June 2017, to effect that transition. It is a transition of the most significant historical proportion that will transform forever, the broadcasting experience for millions of the Nigerian people. The Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), as a leading stakeholder in our industry, will continue to be a worthy partner with the NBC in that effort to achieve the Analogue-to-Digital transition. I want to urge your distinguished organization to therefore play a greater role in the process, through a more effective publicity and enlightenment about the Digital Switch Over (DSO) process. Nigerians should own the process but that can only come about with a better appreciation of the importance of what all of us involved in the process are actually trying to achieve.

 

Similarly, the NBC would like members of BON to concentrate minds on the training of the younger generation of Nigerians that we all expect to take broadcasting into the future. The levels of training have not been as thorough as many of the old generation of broadcasters used to proudly display on radio and television across Nigeria.  I also think that a major development that will make the Digital Broadcasting experience meaningful in our country is the spiking of the process of indigenous content production. The digital revolution must be underscored by a booming digital economy that will open up accesses for millions of very creative young Nigerians, working in content production, and exploring ideas that would translate into the potentially lucrative Digital broadcasting industry, of the post DSO era. In my view, the DSO transition is just the beginning of the challenge that we would continue to collectively nurse into the future.

 

Another issue that I have given a thought to over the past three months, is the need for members of BON to become even more responsive to issues of ethical violations, especially the constant violations of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. The backdrop to my worry is the manner that our colleagues became sucked into the partisan fervor in the lead to the 2015 General Elections in our country. Tendencies towards inflammatory and hate speech became very commonplace and broadcasting became compromised in manners that we had never witnessed before. And that was despite the presence of very elaborate guidelines for conduct in respect of political broadcasts. I am hoping that BON members would be willing to work with us at the NBC, at a conference to examine the experiences that were associated with the ethical violations which came in the wake of the partisan attitudes from the last elections. The hope I have is that we would be able to collectively draw the appropriate lessons about conduct, ethics and responsibility, for our broadcasting of politics into the future. A strong social responsibility content should become an imperative of our broadcasting today. I hope you would emphasize that point in the course of this General assembly.

A few weeks ago, we commenced the long overdue review of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. The in-house phase of the review was concluded at a retreat in Kaduna. Very soon, we would call our stakeholders to participate in the next phase of the review. My hope is to broaden the base of the review process. We want a broadcasting code that is fit for purpose; one that is of and for the Nigerian people and which would reflection the democratic aspirations of Nigeria. So dear colleagues, please get ready to play your part when the time comes. Finally, I want to remind members of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, that many of our colleagues owe the NBC a lot of money. When I resumed work, I sought to know the state of licensing fees as well as the one-and-half-percent of Annual Turn Over that you are obliged to pay to the NBC. Many member stations of BON have simply refused to meet their obligations. These sums of money that you owe the National Broadcasting Commission run into billions of Naira! I want to implore you to fulfill your responsibilities. On a final note, let me assure you that you have a colleague in me, as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. I have spent most of my thirty-nine years of professional media experience, working in broadcasting. I started from the most-lowly position and rose to the very highest possible levels of our business. I have worked as a Studio Manager; Announcer; Newsreader; Presenter/Producer; Sports and Ceremonials Commentator; News and Current Affairs Analyst; Correspondent for International Broadcasting Organizations and Pioneer General Manager of a television station. I did all of these before making a transition into print journalism as an Editor; Chairman of the Editorial Board of two national newspapers and a columnist for three Nigerian newspapers. Please feel free to reach me in respect of the new assignment that I have been given as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. Without your input and collaboration we cannot achieve very much; but when we work together, BON and the NBC, we would achieve a lot for our profession and our dear country, Nigeria. Thank you very much for your attention!

 

 

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