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To begin with, we must cast our minds back to the pre-regulation era in Nigeria when radio and television stations were wholly and solely government-owned, both federal and state with the concomitant stranglehold on those stations and the personnel writ  large.

No doubt, freedom of expression was stifled, access was not guaranteed, and right of reply, which is now universally accepted and practiced was denied.

Now, television broadcasting in Nigeria is going to be fifty years in Nigeria come October, but what gave birth to radio and television was the denial of right of reply to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the then Premier of Western Nigeria by the Colonial Masters following a grave allegation.  That in a nutshell paints the picture of the essence of private broadcasting.

To be specific, what is a radio or television network?  A network is a closely connected group of radio and television stations that exchange information or programmes i.e. a communication/distribution network.  Such networks broadcast a television or a radio programme on stations in several different areas at the same time.  What you can again call simulcasting.

Given the fact that stations are licensed to broadcast in cities, and no broadcasting organization has licence for all the states of the federation, it stands to reason that when radio stations of different hues are allowed to network, the audience stand to benefit from the array of new programmes, news and news-related programmes, breaking news as well as various advertisements.

Therefore, the introduction of private radio and television network allows the private stations to collaborate, exchange content and share adverts revenue.

For broadcasting in the country, the advantages are immense.  One, it encourages the production of new programmes – drama, movies, soap operas, quiz, reality shows and documentaries among others.

Two, the networks create jobs for different genres of workers in the broadcasting industry – producers, directors, engineers, internet technology operatives and marketers.

Three, broadcasting contributes largely to the economy of the country through advertising revenue, taxation and value added tax (VAT).

And finally with the digitization era we are into, equipment manufacturers will go to work and the country also benefits.

NBC controls and regulates the broadcasting industry while NCC controls and regulates the telecommunications industry.

Before NBC was established, these functions were partly performed by the Federal Ministry of Information and partly by the Federal Ministry of Communications.

NBC derives its powers from Act 38 of 1992 and Act 55 of 1999 as amended.

  1. Advising the Federal Government generally on the implementation of the National Mass Communication Policy with particular reference to broadcasting.
  2. Receiving, Processing and considering applications for the ownership of radio and television stations including cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.
  3. Recommending applications through the Minister to the President, Commander in chief of the Armed Forces for the grant of radio and television licences.
  4. Regulating and controlling the broadcast industry;
  5. Undertaking research and development in the broadcast industry;
  6. Receiving, considering and investigating complaints from individuals and bodies corporate regarding the content of a broadcast and the conduct of a broadcasting station;
  7. Upholding the principles of equity and fairness in broadcasting.
  8. Establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regard to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast;
  9. Promoting Nigerian indigenous cultures, moral and community life through broadcasting;
  10. Promoting authenticated radio and television audience measurements and penetration.
  11. Initiating and harmonizing government policies on transborder direct transmission and reception in Nigeria.
  12. Regulating ethical standards and technical excellence in public, private and commercial broadcast stations in Nigeria.
  13. Monitoring broadcasting for harmful emission, interference and illegal broadcasting;
  14. Determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licence of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest.
  15. Approving the transmitter power, location of stations, areas of coverage as well as regulate types of broadcast equipment to be used; and,
  16. Carrying out such other activities as are necessary or expedient for the full discharge of all or any of the functions conferred on it under, or pursuant to this Decree (Act).

Decree 38 of August 24, 1992 established the National Broadcasting Commission.(Now Act 38 0f 1992)

According to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code: All political programmes shall observe the provisions of extant acts, decrees and electoral laws. Equitable air time shall be provided to the various religions in the community. Why is the NBC not punishing broadcast stations as often they break the law? Because NBC elects to be more preventive and corrective rather than punitive. This is to encourage the growth of the broadcast industry. However, where necessary, NBC also wields the big stick.

According to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code: All political programmes shall observe the provisions of extant acts, decrees and electoral laws. Equitable air time shall be provided to the various religions in the community. Why is the NBC not punishing broadcast stations as often they break the law? Because NBC elects to be more preventive and corrective rather than punitive. This is to encourage the growth of the broadcast industry. However, where necessary, NBC also wields the big stick.

If you have a complaint against a station please write to them and copy the Director General, National Broadcasting commission. If you have comments about a particular programme(s), write to the Chief Executive of the station and copy the Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, stating programme(s), titles(s), Date(s) and time(s) of transmission and your observations. You are entitled to a response from the station.

Monitoring is the act of watching/listening to the activities of broadcast stations by officers of the NBC to ensure that what the stations do does not go against the law. This is implemented through the monitoring officers across the country.