Investigation and Enforcement
The National Broadcasting Commission is mandated by Section 2 subsection (1)(f) of the Act which established the Commission to amongst others, receive, consider and investigate complaints from individual and bodies corporate, regarding the contents of a broadcasting station and the conduct of a broadcasting station. To effectively carry out this obligation, the Commission created the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate.
The Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of the National Broadcasting Commission, is made up of a team of dedicated and knowledgeable staff led by its Director. This team receives, investigates, arbitrates and/or enforces the law as provided by the Act that established the Commission.
The Cardinal responsibility of broadcasting which is to inform, educate and entertain, shall not be at the expense of national interest, unity and cohesion of Nigeria’s diverse social, cultural, economic, political and religious configurations. Therefore, according to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, no broadcast shall intentionally encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder, be repugnant to public feeling or contain an offensive reference to any person, alive or dead, or generally, be disrespectful to human dignity.
Consequently, to ensure that the public enjoys its rights to quality broadcasting, the Commission encourages members of the public to complain if they are offended by the content of a broadcast and/or the conduct of a broadcast station.
In addition, the Commission has its monitoring formation which comprises ten (10) zonal offices and twenty four State Offices across the country, to physically monitor off the air the daily station’s broadcast and to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Code, the NBC Act, terms of license and other regulation standards.
When breach of any of the regulation standards occur, the Commission has the powers to step in and take action for the benefit of the public. This can involve investigating and enforcing the law as enshrined in the NBC Act and/or the broadcast code or arbitrating in the case of disputes between licensees. The Directorate also enforces consumer protection law, protect and manage the radio spectrum with the cooperation of the Engineering Directorate, and ensure viewers and listeners are protected from offensive and harmful material and treated fairly.
The Commission shall after receiving and investigating into any complaint, where necessary arbitrate or impose sanctions for any non-compliance or non-adherence to the regulatory standards on content of broadcast materials; conduct of the broadcast station; terms, conditions and obligations of any broadcast licence; NBC Act, The Code of broadcast and any other regulation of the Commission.
PUBLIC RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT BROADCAST CONTENT
Pursuant to the provisions of section 2(1)(d)(g)(h)(i) and (l) of the NBC Act and in keeping with the need for the public to have a say on how the business of broadcasting is conducted; a broadcast station shall:
- Broadcast at specific intervals, a standard announcement, giving its audience the opportunity to complain about the content of its broadcast;
- Make an announcement which shall include contact details of both the broadcast station and the regulator
- Make an announcement at least once during the Morning Belt, and Family Belt.
All complaints and observations shall be either oral or in written form and contain, amongst others, the following:
- Name of the broadcast station.
- Title of the programme
- Date and time of the broadcast
- Essence of the complaint or observation, such as the absence of fairness, obscenity, or technical shortcomings, etc.
- Name, address (including e mail) and signature of the complainant.
Such complaints should be addressed to:
The Director General,
National Broadcasting Commission,
No 20, Ibrahim Taiwo Street,
P. O. Box 5747, Garki, Abuja
Or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to note that any person, group of persons or institution(s) aggrieved may lodge a complaint with the Commission within 14 days after the occurrence of the act or omission.
- On receipt of complaint(s), the Commission, according to sections 13.3.1 – 13.3.6 of the Nigeria Broadcasting code:
- Informs and requires the broadcaster whose content or conduct is being complaint about, to provide, within 72 hours, a response in writing and a recording of the relevant materials;
- Requests copies of the relevant correspondence with the complainant;
- Investigates or arbitrates on the matter within a reasonable period after the receipt of a response; and
- Notifies the parties of the progress of the investigation and findings and the reasons thereof.
- Failure by the broadcast station to supply the materials or make statements in response to the inquiries within the stipulated time limit shall be regarded as acceptance of the complaints and the applicable sanction shall be imposed.
- Where the complaint is upheld, the Commission shall direct the broadcaster to, within a specified time, comply with its findings.
- Failure to comply with the findings attracts a higher sanction.
- The Commission shall make the outcome of the findings public.
To enhance effective investigation, broadcast stations are mandated by law to keep log books where all transmissions including test transmissions, shall be logged in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 7 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended).
The log books shall include record of each day’s programmes; music; advertisements and sponsorships; studio operations and maintenance; transmitter operations and maintenance; links operation and maintenance and power supply. The log books shall be made available to the Commission as at when requested.
Also to facilitate effective investigation, all broadcast stations are mandated:
- To retain for a period of not less than 90 days, a recording of every programme broadcast on its service;
- On demand by the Commission, produce any such recording for examination or record purposes; and
- On demand by the Commission, produce any script or transcript of the programme.
AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS
The Commission shall impose sanctions for any breach arising from monitoring and all complaints received on the content or conduct of a broadcast station.
Section 2(1)(n) and 21 of the NBC Act CAP N11, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 respectively provide that:
Section 2(1) (n) The Commission shall have the responsibility of “determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licences of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest”;
21 ”Any station which contravenes the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code or any other order of the Commission shall be liable to the sanctions prescribed in The Code.”
The Commission shall apply sanctions of different classes ranging from class A, B and C, depending on the severity of the breach committed by any broadcast station.
SEQUENCE OF SANCTIONS
Each breach of a provision of The Code, the Act and other regulations shall constitute a separate offence. A sanction shall be applied according to the CLASS and it shall graduate in severity as a result of non compliance.
LISTS OF SANCTIONED STATIONS DURING THE CONCLUDED GENERAL ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA
S/N STATION BREACH
1. NTA Respect for sensibilities
2. NTA Rules of airing sponsored materials
3. AIT Rules of airing sponsored materials
4. Rima Radi Denial of access
5. STV Lagos 24-hour advert prohibition rules;
6. NTA Lagos 24-hour advert prohibition rules
7. NTA2 CH 5 24-hour advert prohibition rules
8. AIT 24-hour advert prohibition rules (twice)
9. TVC Lagos 24-hour advert prohibition rules
10. NTV 24-hour advert prohibition rules
11 PRTV Jos 24-hour advert prohibition rules
12. NTA Makurdi 24-hour advert prohibition rules
13. Vision FM 24-hour advert prohibition rules
14. Nigeria Info 24-hour advert prohibition rules
15. OSBC TV 24-hour advert prohibition rules
16. Freedom TV Ilesha 24-hour advert prohibition rules
17 BCOS TV 24-hour advert prohibition rules
18 Liberty TV, Liberty Radio, Illegal Networking
Karama (FRCN) FM and
19 NTA Jos 24-hour advert prohibition rules
20 Gombe Media Corp Radio FM 24-hour advert prohibition rules
21. BSES Ekiti Denial of access
22. DSTV(EbonyLive TV Channel) 24-hour advert prohibition rules
Several complaints have been investigated and concluded while others are still under investigation.