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Broadcasting in Nigeria

Private Broadcasting, Prospects, Challenges, Legal Aspects.


Broadcasting in Nigeria (Private Broadcasting, Prospects, challenges, Legal Aspects)

Copyright (c) Ikechukwu Nwanze 2003

Published by Renaissance Communications Ltd, Port Harcourt. 084-488293.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

ISBN 978-36841-5-9

Printed by Renaissance Communications Ltd. Port Harcourt.


DEDICATION This book is dedicated to the following, who have been of tremendous influence in my life. First to God Almighty for His grace, favour, faithfulness, mercies and guidance. To Professor Pat Utomi, my number one model, whom I have always looked up to. To General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd), whose administration privatized the broadcast media in Nigeria To Mr. Chris Aniche Okoroafor who challenged me to dare to achieve. To Eze (Dr.) Sam Ajiri, an accomplished intellectual always willing to share and inspire the youth. To Dr. Tom A. Adaba, the first Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, who loves to serve with humility and openness; to Malam Danladi Bako , Dr. Silas Yisa, and Mr. Bright Igbako. To Alhaji Mahmoud Attah, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Malam Bello Gwandu, late Mazi Timothy C. Modu and late Mazi Sam Ikoku. To Col. A. M. I. Sedenu (rtd.) the Big Daddy! To Capt. Chike Okoroafor, Mr. Pete Edochie, Mr. Chudi Onuzo, Mr. Nduka Ozo and Chief Emma Onwuachi, the Ochiligwe 1 of Ibusa, who taught me to believe in myself. To Col. Frank Ekwealor (rtd), an amiable gentleman who always gets the best out of people. To Mrs. Ngozi Nwankwo, Mrs. Carol Dike Okoroafor and Mrs. Florence DonPedro, for their motherly support and encouragement. To Professor Dagogo M. J. Fubara, a true Nigerian hero. To Chief Harold Dappa Biriye, one of Nigeria's foremost Statesmen, who would freely give of his time to teach me the most important lessons of life from his great wealth of experience, and to my very dear friend, Dr. Emmanuel Nsan and his family. To the following persons who groomed me in broadcasting: Chief (Dr.) Raymond Dokpesi, Chief Uzo Udemba - who believes in man's ability to accomplish anything he sets his mind on; Ms Ineh White, Mr. Sam Iyoyo, Engineer Eddie Amana, Engineer Bolarinwa, Mr. Idakoru Boyle, Sir Mike Oku, Mr. Festus Ogwuche, Mr. Goddy Williams, Mr. Abie Tariah, Ms Dafeni Gogo-Abbey, Engineer J. O. N. Ezekoka KSM, Mr. Mike Uwaegbute, Mrs. Florence Ekiye, and Mr. Patrick Mark. To Eze (Dr) Frank Eke, Eze Gbaka Gbaka, Eze Oha Evo of Evo Kingdom, and to i


Prof. Chike Onwuachi, Akunne Gilbert Ofodile, Chief S. M. O. Nnoruka, Professor Tam David-West, Professor Epiphany Azinge, Dr. Kudo Eresia-Eke and Prof. A. Yesufu. To Chief Stephen Ezekwem, Hon. Desmond Akawor, Chief Fineface Ihunwo, Chief Stanley Nwofor, Dr. W. V. Welli, General Femi Williams (rtd.), Air Commodore Emeka Omeruah (rtd) and Group Capt. Ama Monde. To Hon. O. C. J. Okocha, SAN, JP, Barrister Franklin Peterside, Mr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Barrister Alex Aniemeke, Barrister Aham Njoku, Barrister Dennis Okwakpam, Mr. Vivian R. Ene and Nkiruka Ejikeme. To the following police officers whom it has been my privilege to be associated with: Sir Keiran Z. Dudari Mr. B. A. Thomas Prince Ekpo Udom Mr. Sylvester O. Araba Samuel Okutu - Onwa of Igbodo Mr. B. A. Hassan Mr. Abdulmajid Alli, Mrs. Ibifuro Hilder Harrison, Mr. Johnson Oni, Mr. Yemi Adeyemo, Mrs. Pat Momoh, Mrs. Rita Abbey, Biobaragha Makalabh Roseline, Mr. Yonus Mohammed Akeera, Mr. Godwill Obielum, Mr. Ros-Amson Musa Haladu, Mr. Ayeni Jacob Babatunde, Mr. Bwala.. To Miss Ngozi Okeke, Mrs. Ngozi Utomi, and to Mr. Ameh Peters, Mr. & Mrs. Amasoh and family..

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We gratefully acknowledge our indebtedness to a large number of people, mostly authors, and those others we consulted who are involved in the broadcast and allied sectors, for providing us with useful insights in the preparation of this book. We have consulted several books, some of them are the main sources of specific chapters. We probably have compromised some works which we consulted extensively, but we have in the references pages acknowledged our sources. For some, however, as a result of the pains and strains of survival in Nigeria, through the period the preparation of this book was in progress, as narrated in the Introduction to this book, and the movement by the author from place to place, particularly relocation from one part of the country to another, a few sources of some of the references we made were lost. However, we made efforts to get the sources. Some of them cannot be found. We apologize for such cases and hope to make good in subsequent editions. Generally, we are grateful to the authors and publishers of the works we consulted, listed in the references pages to each chapter, and those we cannot locate. We are indebted to you all. We are grateful to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, for allowing us to take excerpts from the National Broadcasting Code, Second Edition, 1996. (For our analysis and references to the National Broadcasting Code, particularly in Chapters Four, Five and Six, we used the 1993 Edition of the Code. We apologise for any difficulties readers who do not have the 1993 edition, may encounter. Basically, the two editions are similar except that in the latter edition additions were made. In the subsequent edition of this book, we shall use the most recent of the code). Our gratitude also goes to Miss Ibitoru Bennetta Beresiri for her useful suggestions, Mr. Ini-Obong Edet Udo who typed the manuscript and to Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Igbru. To all those who have in one way or another made contributions to the preparation of this book, we extend our gratitude and appreciations. God bless you all.

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CONTENTS Introduction…………………………………………………… CHAPTER ONE History and Development of Broadcasting in Nigeria… Role and Functions of Radio……………………………… Role and Functions of Television……………………….… Government Exclusive Ownership and Control of the Broadcast Media: Underlying Philosophy, Reasons and Implications…………………………………………. The Advent of Private Electronic Media in Nigeria……… Private Broadcasting: A word for Operators……………… Equipment Procurement and Manpower Development…… The Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)…………………. Should Government-Owned Media Carry on Advertising?.. Globalisation and the Future of Broadcasting in Nigeria….. Community Radio………………………………………….. Who can Establish?………………………………………… CHAPTER TWO The Problems and Solutions of Government-owned Broadcast Media in Nigeria …………………………… CHAPTER THREE The Impact of Government - Press Relations on Private Broadcasting in Nigeria……………………. Conditions for Press Freedom…………………………………. What theory of Press Operates in Nigeria?……………………. The Fear of the Broadcast Media, how Justified?……………... Information Control and Cable Satellite Television…………… World Space Satellite Radio: Need for Regulation……………. CHAPTER FOUR Legal Aspects of Broadcasting in Nigeria ………………….. Analysis and Commentary on the Provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992…… The NBC and the Ministry of Communication…………………. Appointment and Tenure of members of the Commission……… Power of the NBC to make Rules……………………………….. Issuance of Broadcast Licenses ………………………………… Important Areas of NBC's Surveillance…………………………. iv


Tenure and Renewal of Licenses ………………………………... Social controls of Broadcasting………………………………….. NBC's Sanctions ………………………………………………… Media Ownership and Control…………………………………… How can State-owned Stations be compelled to comply with the equal Airtime Rule? …………………………………….. Commentary and Analysis of the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree No. 55 of 1999………………. CHAPTER FIVE Investing in Private Broadcasting in Nigeria: Procedures and Processes ………………………………………… Application Procedures……………………………………………... Project Study………………………………………………………… Operative Departments of a Standard Broadcasting Station………… Functions of the Departments………………………………… Operational Strategies for the Departments…………………… Departmental Structure of a Broadcasting Organisation……… Revenue ……………………………………………………….. Engineering Design of System………………………………… CHAPTER SIX Advertising and the Broadcast Media in Nigeria ………… Advertising and Public Relations…………………………….. PR Practice in Nigeria………………………………………… The Armed Forces and PR Practice…………………………… Advertising and Publicity……………………………………… Purpose and Scope of Advertising…………………………….. Criticisms of Advertising……………………………………… In Defence of Advertising…………………………………….. Regulators of Advertising Practice…………………………… Broadcast Media Advertising: Comparative Analysis of Television and Radio………………………………………….. Advertising on Cable Satellite Television: the Raging Debate……………………………………………... Categories of Advertisements in the Broadcast Media………… Advertising Practice in Nigeria………………………………… Media Monitoring in Nigeria…………………………………… CHAPTER SEVEN Broadcast Management in Nigeria …………………………… Departmental Managers…………………………………………. Factors that have hindered the Development of Effective v


Broadcast Management in Nigeria………………………………. CHAPTER EIGHT Broadcasting and the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria……… Private Broadcasting and NBC's Mandatory Local Content……….. Government Role in Developing the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria ………………………………………………….. Copyright Protection and the Entertainment Industry in Nigeria…… Film / Musical Works and the Broadcast Media……………………. Copyright Owners and Self Help Methods………………………… Services and Industries that will emerge with the deregulation of the Broadcast Media………………………………… Appendices ……………………………………………….. i. National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992… ii.

National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree No. 55 of 1999………………………………………

iii. iv.

Relevant Excerpts from the National Broadcasting Code, Second Edition, 1996……………………………………. Relevant Excerpts from the NTA Act, 1977………………

v.

Relevant Excerpts

vi.

Relevant Excerpts from the Nigerian Copyright Act, 1988………………………………..……. Relevant Excerpts from the APCON Code of Advertising Practice……………………………. Relevant Excerpts from the National Film and Video Censors Board Decree No. 85 of 1993……………………

vii. viii.

from the FRCN Act, 1978……………

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INTRODUCTION As a child I admired broadcasters as I loved lawyers. My appointment as the first Senior Prefect of Omu Boys Secondary School, Ibusa, Delta State, in my Class One (we were the pioneer students of the school) provided me an opportunity to cultivate the art of public speaking, as I had to address my fellow students everyday at the Assembly Ground before my Principal, Mr. Anazia, and all my teachers. Later I began to write articles and poems which I sent to Newspapers and to the Presenter of the programme Just for You, then anchored by Mr. Abie Tariah on Radio Rivers, FM Stereo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. That was in my secondary school days in the 1980s. While at the University of Benin, Faculty of Law, some of my fellow students would call me and say "Iyke, do you know you're cut out for show business? Explore that part of you you've got the talent." Did they mislead me? Well, time will tell. But sometimes I look around and see some of them doing well in law practice and I wonder at myself‌ In 1992 while at the Nigerian Law School where I faced very serious health and financial difficulties, I was introduced to Mr. Toyin Munis and Mr. Fola Martins of Clapperboard Television, Lagos. I became a consultant to the outfit. Broadcasting is addictive. Once you get into it you just can't easily get out of it. On the eve of the privatisation or liberalization of the broadcast media in Nigeria in 1992, I approached some prominent Nigerians to join me in establishing and operating private broadcasting stationsradio, television and cable satellite retransmission stations. They trusted me. They believed a 25-year-old young man, who had no previous outstanding experience and who did not have a family name or parental roots that could open doors! I will forever be grateful to these accomplished men and women who made financial and professional contributions to the idea. Soon, we commenced the process of establishing the stations. In 1993, with an assemblage of what some staff of the National Broadcasting Communication, NBC, called the best team of applicants (with mostly accomplished broadcasters and other professionals) for licenses to establish and operate private broadcasting stations, Renaissance Communications Limited sent in applications to the NBC for licenses to operate Radio, TV and Cable Satellite Retransmission stations. Our company was recommended along with others, in 1993, to the Head of State, Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. Some of the companies recommended along with us to the Head of State for final approval have since been granted the final approval and they have commenced transmission and full operations; some since 1994/95. Till date (2003), we still await the final approval of our licenses from the Commander-in-Chief. We have been recommended by the NBC several times to the Commander-in-chief since 1993, but we are yet to get our final approval. So, ten years since my ambition to contribute to the development of my nation through the establishment of private broadcasting stations, I am left, abandoned in the vii


wilderness, wondering whether I was born at the wrong end of the world map. My nation has denied me my ambition at the age of 25 and has held it in abeyance ten years after, even with the assemblage of the best team of professionals. But I have refused to yield to anger and frustration, knowing that there are thousands of young Nigerians who suffer similar fate in several sectors, and knowing that God is watching and that in the fullness of time, so long as I remain focused, the storm will be over‌ I am most grateful to Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Alhaji Mahmoud Attah, Mr. John Nwodo (a former Federal Minister of Information), General Abbas, Col. Frank Ekwealor, Dr. Tom A. Adaba, Engineer Eddy Amana, Boniface Ekwealor, Air Commodore Emeka Omeruah (rtd.) and many others who made efforts to help a young Nigerian achieve his ambition; they used their influence to support and help me. I am grateful. In 1992, while a consultant to Clapperboard television and during my initial and later efforts to secure the approval of my private broadcasting licenses, I looked for books to help me gain required knowledge and understanding of broadcasting. The few books I found were written by foreign authors. So, in 1993 I decided to do a book on broadcasting in Nigeria. But I didn't know where to start. For months I tried to articulate the subject and content of the book. Then I visited the Institute of Management Technology, IMT, Enugu, where I met the then Head of Department of Mass Communications, Mr. Amafili Chudi who, after listening to me, said "young man, if you can do an exhaustive work on this book as you have laid it out to me, you would be doing students of Mass Communications a lot of good. There are no books of this kind yet, and students need them". He then called another lecturer in the department, Mr. Jonathan E. Ahede, to his office, introduced me to him and asked him to provide me with books and other materials I needed. Mr. Ahede did just that. I left the school with a lot of books. Those books were my first materials and they were helpful. I am grateful to Mr. Amafili Chudi and Mr. Jonathan Ahede. Latter I went to the Federal Library Enugu where I found other helpful materials. I am grateful to the staff of the Federal Library, Enugu, for their kind assistance. All this while, Dr. Tom A. Adaba was of immense encouragement to me. So was Mr. Igbako, Secretary of the NBC, and my friend Mr. Festus Ogwuche and several others. My practical experience in broadcasting has helped me so much in preparing this book. In 1998, I packaged a programme called Heroes & Legends, which I produced and anchored on NTA Port Harcourt. Engineer J. O. N. Ezekoka, then the General Manager, NTA Port Harcourt, made efforts to get the programme on NTA network but failed. However, the programme was a success and many viewers attest to the fact that it was inspiring. Then I produced and anchored Autoworld on RSTV, Port Harcourt for about a year. In 1999 I began producing viii


and presenting the programme CRIMEWATCH on RSTV, Port Harcourt and Radio Rivers FM Stereo, Port Harcourt. The programme gave me an insight into the problems and challenges faced by our security agencies. It also provided me a platform to address certain social attitudes that breed crime and create insecurity in society. And I was led to the conclusion that we are collectively involved, collectively responsible for the failures and successes of our society; that the family remains the most important institution in society, and that parents are to a large extent responsible for every child that has gone astray. I have also been the producer and presenter of Homes & Property on RSTV and Waterline also on RSTV, Port Harcourt, for several years. I have also produced several documentaries and advertisements. I organised the first of its kind Train st Picnic/Carnival events on 1 of October 1998 and Dec 26, 1998 respectively. These experiences provided me opportunities to understand broadcasting better, and the difficulties, challenges and prospects of broadcastingparticularly private broadcasting, in Nigeria. From production to editing and other post production stages, to marketing, I have faced the challenges and I believe that my experiences, which are brought to bear in this book, will be immensely helpful to broadcast operators, employees and students. I began writing this book in 1993 at a time when I faced daunting challenges. I started in Enugu. Then Lagos and Port Harcourt. Wherever I went, I went with it. Then I moved from Enugu. At times I was literally homeless. At such times, it was in my car trunk. When I had difficulties with my car, it was in my briefcase. Then in 1996 I was brutalised by the police, following an unfortunate mistaken identity episode. It made headlines. But the kind intervention of the then Military Governor of Rivers State, Col. Dauda Musa Komo, was decisive. From the hospital to court, the manuscript was with me. Today, rather ironically, I am involved with the police in the battle against crime. It shows that in life every experience counts. We should never let bitterness hinder us from the good. We should see even our worst experiences as platforms to greater glory and let them expand further our horizon, light the way as we grope in the dark for the meaning of life, and provide us a window to the true soul of beautiful humanity‌ This book is an attempt to provide students of Mass Communications, Marketing, Law, and Management, as well as Broadcasters, broadcast managers, public and private broadcast operators, government departments dealing with information, the National Broadcasting Commission, and countries who are yet to embrace private broadcasting, with relevant materials. Our attempts may not have been exhaustive, but we have endeavoured to cover as many relevant areas as we can. Please accept this little beginning. We hope to publish periodic editions in future, with improvements. Ikechukwu Nwanze Port Harcourt, Nigeria. ix


CHAPTER ONE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA Broadcasting in Nigeria dates back to the year 1933. That year, the British colonial government, through its public relations office, established a radio broadcasting station in Lagos. However, it was not a full-fledged radio station. It only operated as an appendage of the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC. The station monitored and relayed programmes for the BBC. Programmes were originated and transmitted from London, to subscribers in Nigeria by telephone wires. Programmes were purely British though sometimes they were tailored to suit the taste of colonial listeners. The British colonial government initiated radio broadcasting to link colonial territories with Britain, to serve as a propaganda machinery. Radio broadcasting was used by the colonial masters to propagate and disseminate their alien cultural norms, values and philosophies. It was also employed to consolidate the domination of the colonial territories. Under colonial government radio broadcasting was not intended for the betterment of the colonised audience, unless promoting and strengthening loyalty among colonial subjects can be so characterized. Matheson Hilda underscored this point by noting that radio broadcasting under colonial governments was meant to promote imperial interests by providing officials of the colonial government residing in the colonies a link with their metropolitan home. Hilda expressed this observation thus: "I am not unaware of the very great value which broadcast already is and still more will be to white men and women of tropical Africa. It provides a new and living link with events and ideal at home. It counteracts loneliness. It provides a new bond of interest between isolated settlers or officials. It is an important imperial asset"1 In 1951, the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) was established as an arm of the Ministry of Information. However, the character, structure and function of the NBS was nothing different from the past except in name. It continued to serve as a relay station, working closely with the BBC and relaying national news and other programmes from London. In 1957, however, radio broadcasting in Nigeria assumed some relevance to the Nigerian audience, as programmes were to some extent Nigerianized. Earlier in 1956, through an ACT of Parliament No. 39 (of 1956), the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, was established. It began operation as a statutory body on 1st April 1957. By the provisions of that ordinance, the functions of the NBC were as follows: 1.

To provide independent and impartial broadcasting service by means of


2. 3.

wireless telegraph and by television for general reception in Nigeria. To establish external services, if the Governor-General-in -Council so directs, for the purpose of broadcasting programmes to territories outside Nigeria, and To ensure that the services it provides, when considered as a whole reflect the unity of Nigeria as a Federation and the culture, characteristics, affairs and opinions of the Federation.

While the NBC maintained a national station, radio stations were simultaneously established in each of the three regions. In the East, there was the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service (ENBS), while the West had the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service, WNBS. The North also had the Northern Nigeria Broadcasting Company, NNBC. The regional stations were meant to supplement the efforts of the NBC and they worked together with the NBC at improving on the quality and quantity of local programmes for the Nigerian audience. The NBC was not established for profit purposes and therefore did not engage in advertising. This gave the regional stations ample room to generate revenue. By the Sixties, however, there were five public broadcasting authorities in Nigeria, namely: the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation; Western Nigeria Radio Vision Service; Radio Television, Kaduna, East Central State Broadcasting Service; and Midwest State Broadcasting Corporation. Thus, while the Federal Government controlled the NBC, the regional stations were under the control of the regional governments, respectively. However, the Federal Government had exclusive control over the allocation of broadcast frequencies. In 1979, the Federal Military Government through the instrumentality of st Decree No 8 of 1979 (with retrospective effect from 1 April 1978) restructured the NBC and this led to the establishment of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN. The Decree did not differ fundamentally from the NBC Ordinance which it annulled, though it dissolved the NBC and handed over twenty of its stations to state governments. The only NBC stations retained were those in Lagos, Ibadan and Enugu, which were merged with the former Broadcasting Corporation of Northern Nigeria also dissolved by the Decree to form the FRCN, at inception. In particular, the operational guidelines remained the same as the dissolved NBC. However, the main objective of the FRCN Decree appears to be the promotion of orderly and meaningful development of broadcasting in Nigeria through improvement in technical training, programming and staff exchange. Since the Second Republic, Nigeria has witnessed a proliferation of stateowned radio and television stations. Today, there are several state owned radio stations in Nigeria. Some states have two radio stations transmitting on AM and FM Bands respectively. It was only in August 1994, that the first privately owned radio station in Nigeria Raypower 100FM was established in Lagos. In 1995, 2


Minaj Systems, Obosi, in Anambra State, was granted license to establish and operate a private radio station. Several others have since been granted. ROLE AND FUNCTION OF RADIO In a setting of mostly illiterate, poor and rural communities of most Third World countries, radio broadcasting is the most effective medium of mass communication as it transcends geographical, linguistic and other traditional barriers. It is a very effective medium of reaching the masses, mostly the grassroots. The print media has limited audience as it is restricted to the educated who live mostly in urban areas. Television also has limited audience compared to radio. Television sets are expensive and most Nigerians consider it a luxury. Radio broadcasting, therefore, remains the most effective mass communication medium available, mainly due to the low cost of radio sets and the fact that radio programming in Nigeria today is increasingly accommodating the local languages of the respective audiences of the numerous stations spread across the country. Other factors which make radio more effective than other media include its portability, availability in most homes (indeed there are more than one radio sets in most homes in Nigeria), its instantaneous effect, its mass outreach, its sensitivity to the peculiar socio-cultural and religious character of its audiences, the simplicity of the technical process of operating a radio set, and the fact that radio can be operated without the epileptic power supply system in the country. Radio broadcasting is an effective tool of mass mobilization and the socialization of a people culturally, politically and economically. It is a potent factor in the enhancement and acceleration of development. Radio also readily, easily and effectively lends itself to the oral culture of African communities. TELEVISION The first television station in Nigeria (it was also the first in tropical Africa) was established in 1959, at Mapo Hall in Ibadan by the government of the Western Region, under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, then the Premier of Western Nigeria. The first television station was a child of political discord. The central government had condemned the opposition, Action Group, for walking out on parliament during the constitutional debate for independence. The Action Group felt aggrieved that the central government denied it an opportunity to tell its own side of the story on the national radio. In response, the Western Region Government went on to establish the Western Nigeria Television. Though critics condemned the move as wasteful and prestigious, it was nonetheless an important landmark in the history of mass communication in Nigeria. In October 1960, the Eastern Region Government of the NCNC followed the example of the West by setting up its Eastern Nigeria Television Station. The Northern Region Government established its own television station in 1962, which it called the Radio Kaduna Television RKTV. The Federal 3


Government of Nigeria was not left out in the race; it established its own (national) television station also in 1962, called the Nigerian Television Service, in Lagos, under a Management Agreement with an American network. In 1973, the Midwest Television was established while in 1974, the Benue Plateau Television became the first Television station to transmit in colours The major motivation of each of these governments in establishing the first generation of Nigeria's television stations was political; television broadcasting (as well as radio and even the print media) was used for propaganda purposes by politicians of the First Republic. At that time, the media were mainly political organs. The potentials of television (and the print and radio as well) as viable instruments or machinery for propaganda was further reinforced during the Nigerian civil war 1967 1970. The creation of new states witnessed the continuation of what had become a tradition, as each new state sought to establish its own television station to advance its own political interests, that is, the interest of the party in power in those states. The result was that sectional consciousness was reinforced, thus post-poning indefinitely the realization of a truly united Nigeria. The All Africa Games hosted by Nigeria in 1973 provided ample opportunity for co-operation among television stations in Nigeria. Rather than working at cross purposes, the various television stations saw the need to work together. They realized the need to co-operate, collaborate and co-ordinate the activities of all the stations in the country, from one central pool. This helped to avoid the logistic problems which each television station would have encountered if they had all flooded the sporting arena, each with its own crew and facilities. That experiment which was very successful, gave birth to the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON. The success of the experiment also motivated the Federal Military Government to conceptualize the possibilities and benefits of establishing a centrally financed and co-ordinated television for the country. The Federal Government then went on to enact Decree No. 24 of 1977, which retrospectively took effect from April, 1976. The Decree established the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA. Under the Decree, all the television stations in the country were to come together under one central body, the NTA. At the inception of NTA there were ten television stations in Nigeria located in Ibadan, Enugu, Kaduna, Lagos, Benin, Jos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto, and Owerri (Aba). The decree therefore gave the NTA exclusive right of television broadcasting in Nigeria. Thus the NTA took over the then ten existing television stations in the country. It soon embarked on a policy of adequate geographical spread of stations throughout Nigeria. To this end, it set up additional stations in the state capitals where there were no television stations in existence. Television stations were established in Maiduguri, Bauchi, Minna, Yola, Ilorin, Calabar, Markudi, Akure and Abeokuta. In 1980, an additional station was established in Lagos NTA 2, Channel 5. Other stations were also established later in Abuja, Ikeja and Katsina. Following the creation of more states, demand for more television stations 4


increased. In 1997 NTA Lafia and NTA Dutse were established. The NTA plans to establish more stations across the country. The exclusive monopoly of television broadcasting by the Federal Government through the NTA, was however broken by the 1979 Constitution. Section 36 subsection (2) of the Constitution provides inta alia. "‌. every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions; Provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorised by the President, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever (emphasis supplied)". Thus the 1979 constitution amended Decree No. 24 of 1977. While the constitution allowed the NTA to remain, it however allowed State governments to own television and radio stations. It must be added here that nothing in this provision or anywhere else in the Constitution, prevented the President from allowing private ownership of the electronic media in Nigeria. It is either that the President, in the person of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, throughout his incumbency was never approached by private individuals or groups for license to establish and operate private broadcasting stations in the country, or that the President was not favourably disposed to it. However, several state governments took advantage of this section of the constitution to establish their own television (and radio) stations. By the end of 1983, the following states owned their own television stations. The states were Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, and Bendel States. Others were Anambra, Imo, Plateau and Kano States. A common feature among all these states is that the parties in control of the governments of these states were different from the party in control of government at the centre. Since the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, was in control at the centre, it also meant that it was in control of the NTA which was a Federal Government owned television network. The above mentioned states being under the control of parties different from the party at the centre, felt the need to establish their own stations to counteract the propaganda of the federal government controlled NTA. The result was media war which at one point became so degenerative and protracted as to undermine the ethics of journalism. As someone rightly observed, government owned media failed to distinguish between the ruling party and the government, and therefore became party organs financed by the public. This unbecoming situation which at its peak threatened national security prompted the Guild of Editors, meeting in Calabar, in May 1980, to observe that: "the use of the media as exclusive propaganda organ of incumbent governors and their parties is a serious misuse of power and abuse of office" (Daily Times May 23, 1980) However, the Guild of Editors failed to tell the nation whether they found the 5


Federal Government's use of the media under its control to be so innocent and justified as not to merit equal criticism and condemnation. Thus the media of the Second Republic aborted one of the main goals it was meant to achieve, namely, national unity. The media lost credibility. Whether one believed in a particular news item depended on one's political leaning. It was this situation that the military met when they usurped power from the civilians in 1983. In 1993, following the deregulation of the broadcast media by the Babangida administration, an initial thirteen television licenses were issued to private organisations. A higher number of organisations were granted licenses to establish and operate cable / satellite television rebroadcasting stations. In June 1995, the first private Direct Satellite television license was issued by the federal government to DAAR Communications Limited who would operate under the call sign Africa Independent Television, AIT. ROLE AND FUNCTION OF TELEVISION As a result of its ability to transmit sound, vision and motion simultaneously, television is a powerful mass mobilization medium. TV also has other advantages, amongst which are: -

Instant and simultaneous access to an immense audience. High credibility and nationwide scope, Increases political participation Confers status on personalities and issues An easy corridor to power, and Helps in setting political, economic, social and cultural agenda. Television has its disadvantages which, among others, include: high cost, potential for selfish use by leaders to address their people over the heads of their representative assemblies, civil servants and ministers, thus outflanking normal organs of government TV also hinders reasoned discussion because it provides superficial information that favours imagery and immediacy of reporting over discussion. The effectiveness of television as a mass communication medium, however, depends on factors such as availability of TV sets, adequate and regular power supply, availability of local programmes etc. The Nigerian situation at present does not guarantee these: television sets remain a luxury to many homes; power supply is epileptic; TV stations are bedeviled with broken down spares, cost of producing local programmes is far higher than the cost of procuring foreign programmes, etc. Thus it will be sometime yet before television becomes as potent as it should be in playing its role in Nigeria.

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GOVERNMENT EXCLUSIVE OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL OF THE BROADCAST MEDIA: UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY, REASONS AND IMPLICATIONS As has been emphasized earlier, broadcasting was used by the colonial administration as a tool to propagate and advance the interests of the imperial government in the colonies, especially in promoting and prolonging colonial dictatorship. Thus, even though radio broadcasting in Nigeria dates back to the Thirties, the first radio station in the country served only as a relay station to the BBC in far away London. Programmes were packaged and transmitted from London, and all the programmes were designed and packaged to suit the convenience of the imperial power, Britain. The colonial government was therefore entirely in control of radio broadcasting in Nigeria. When Nigeria achieved flag independence in 1960, the Federal Government naturally inherited ownership of the media. The emergent government rightly saw in the broadcast media a viable tool for supporting and supplementing education, for mass mobilization of the people in nation building, development and national integration. Ordinarily, national integration means a sense of identification with the larger whole, that is, the Nation State, a feeling of belongingness, of being a Nigerian; loyalty to the nation-state, rather than the village or tribe. But the emergent Nigerian political leaders had other definition that suit their narrow purposes; they saw national integration as focusing loyalty on themselves and on the legitimacy of their rule. They used the media to proclaim their activities and achievements. However, on the positive side, government rightly saw the media as potent vehicle to achieve political socialization and re-orientation. Government used the media to promote indigenous art, to accelerate development process and as a machinery to channel authentic creativity to promote indigenous cultural values and identity and local languages which had been bastardised and suppressed by the colonial administration. For the complete decolonization of the nation's psyche and institutions, the broadcast media were readily available. Government further realised the power of the broadcast media as sources of news information, education, entertainment and leadership. The media's potentials for conferring status was also affirmed by the political class. Government realised that the media are powerful in several other respects including their potentials as: -

a vehicle in publicising government activities, policies and programmes. a means of defending government programmes and policies a viable machinery for educating the people, and an effective channel for bringing government nearer to the grassroots. Later the media were to transform to mostly entertainment and information service providers. 7


Though post-independence administrations had tailored the political and social institutions of the country along models of the colonial godfather, Britain, they failed to adopt the British liberal humanist broadcast structure in which media ownership and control are democratized or liberalised. Thus, in Nigeria, ownership and control of broadcast media were left exclusively to governments at federal and later, state levels. Successive administrations, both civil and military, continued with that tradition of government ownership and control of the broadcast media until recently. Critics have repeatedly argued that the major reason for government exclusive ownership and control of the broadcast media and the exclusion of private individuals and organisations from ownership, is the fear of political opposition. They argue that successive administrations especially under military dictatorship, sought periods of stability in which to legitimize or prolong their regimes. Therefore, anything that would encourage the expression of dissent or criticism on air, was resisted. This confirms the view of Sydney Head that: "‌The leader of a political or military dictatorship invariably makes seizure of public communications facilities a top-priority target. During the time of crisis the media become the sole sources of re-assurance and guidance in a topsy-turvy world. Characteristically, though once order has been restored and stable social conditions again prevail, even absolute control of the media and unremitting propaganda cannot snuff out the spirit of opposition. For this reason, the clever dictator deliberately fosters an atmosphere of chronic uncertainty and incipient 2 crisis in order to maintain his audience's susceptibility to propaganda" Over the years, government has over-politicised the broadcast media, sometimes doctoring news content to suit its needs. To reinforce absolute control, government sometimes sacrificed professionalism on the alter of sycophancy in appointing people to positions of authority in broadcast organisations. We also have found that some professional broadcast journalists, for some gratifications of financial or other motivation, compromised the ethics of their profession in magnifying the personality of leaders who seek perpetual hold on power, to larger-than life proportions and in the process, conspired in the delay of the evolution of peaceful processes of political succession. Some journalists also submit easily and willingly to pressures to adjust their news contents to the events that government and politicians regard as important. All these are geared towards satisfying the voracious appetite of some public officers for praisesinging and sycophancy as they are themselves averse to criticisms no matter how constructive. In the end, such governments are held hostage by the sycophants that surround them. They are cut off from realities and slide slowly and surely to their demise. Government refusal over the years to allow private ownership of the media was 8


also said to be motivated by some other factors. The major motivation is said to be its fear that going by our historical experience, private ownership of the media might aggravate or reinforce the sectional inclination of the various groups that make up Nigeria. Government's bitter experience with the Nigerian press over the years, is also another factor; a section of the Nigerian press is said to have failed to realise that freedom should go with responsibility, integrity, checks, self-restraint and self-regulation, and that individual and group freedom need to be checked, especially when the collective interests of society are jeopardized. Another justification for government exclusive ownership and control of the broadcast media is that access to the raw materials of broadcasting, that is broadcast frequencies, is not as free or as available as newsprint, the raw material of the print media. Also, another motivation for government longstanding ownership and control of the broadcast media is said to be that after independence, the cadres of independent citizens who had the necessary experience and the financial clout to own broadcast media, and who would be acceptable to government, did not exist. To have surrendered the broadcast media to private initiative, at that early stage of independence would, perhaps, have brought with it the danger of promoting reliance of such private owners on entrepreneurs and administrators outside the country (who would be relied upon for technical support and financing) and in the process perpetuating external control of the very vital broadcast media, with the implication of jeopardizing national interest. Experience has however shown that government exclusive ownership and excessive control of the broadcast media has been counter-productive as it defeats the objectives of national development and sometimes engenders muzzling of independent thought which is the major vehicle of social, economic, political and cultural development. As John E. Ivey had warned: "Unless the communication process allows us to maintain a certain consensus on how we want ‌ change to take place and to identify the goals of social change, we have a complete breakdown of social 3 organisation" Sydney Head affirms this view when he wrote: "Change being inevitable, society needs mechanisms for accomplishing it peacefully. Without free exchange of ideas and arguments, completely bottled-up pressures may mount to the point of exploding into violence 4 and tearing society apart" . Thus national security, peace and stability are better advanced through a free media with inbuilt regulatory machinery that are not inherently oppressive or suppressive. No one should begrudge government for seeking to check and regulate the media, nor should any responsible government be denied the right to grant private media ownership licenses only to those who are acceptable to it. 9


Afterall, no government has ever been known to pamper forces of mischief that work to destabilize society. In early England the private sector was permitted to own the press, but the sector was made up of only wealthy friends of the Crown who did not abuse their ownership privilege by criticizing it. We have seen how government exclusive ownership and excessive control of the media have served purely political purposes as dictated by the government in power; broadcast contents have in many instances been outright propaganda, in service of the interests of the government of the day and the party in power; programme contents have been designed, tailored and doctored in line with government definition, perception and characterization of 'nation building" and "national interest". All these are motivated by the desire, rightly or wrongly, to check and avoid subversion. Thus successive administrations have lived in excessive fear and sensitivity to the political power of privately-owned broadcast media, given the assured influence of broadcast media on public opinion, attitude formation and mass action. Sometimes, in the bid to avoid featuring programmes that would tend to show, highlight or celebrate restlessness among citizens in the face of hardships occasioned by misrule, political and economic crises, unstable governments are known to engage in deliberate, sometimes desperate, misinformation and under-information of the people. The masses on their part have had to become increasingly suspicious of news emanating from government - owned and controlled media. Government control and influence on news contents have not in any way been advantageous. Rather it has promoted cynicism and rumour mongering. Opposition to constructive criticism also promotes mass disenchantment and loss of confidence in government. However, society should insist that criticisms must be constructive, objective, fair, balanced and intended for the general good, and that those who criticize must provide viable alternatives to policies or actions they criticize. Government exclusive ownership and excessive control of the media can do serious havoc on mobility of information system that ensures balance, with the result that destructive rumour mongering is embraced by the populace. Even government desire to use the media as an agent of cultural continuity by employing the media in the positive effort of reinforcing our indigenous culture, has not been enhanced by exclusive ownership of the media, as our television stations have continued to function more as relay stations for foreign programmes than an output of our society. In the same token, we have witnessed high concentration of foreign musical entertainment on our local radio stations without corresponding efforts to use radio programming to revive, revitalise and project our cultural values, enhance social development and motivate individuals to legitimate positive high aspirations and ambition backed by hard work, creativity, initiative, entrepreneurial conditioning, and the abiding spirit to give something for success, which could all generate enhanced audience empathy, social stability, security and economic development. Programme contents (in an environment of a 10


deregulated media ownership which will engender positive competition) should be designed to meet the needs of the entire target audiences of each radio and television station including rural communities. Government fear of a liberalized broadcast system should be dispelled. In our collective search for enduring democracy in Nigeria and the evolution of peaceful processes of political succession, of social, economic and cultural development, a free and competitive media is imperative. However, there should be a framework and mechanism of regulation, designed to check excesses and abuse. Democracy is about choice; the freedom to choose among various alternatives candidates, policies, programmes etc. For choice to be said to be free, there should be objectivity in the presentation of the various alternatives from which the people are expected to make their choices. This means balanced and objective presentation, education and information on available alternatives. Charles Siepmann was right when he wrote. " The glory of the democratic way of life derives precisely from the fact that, as collective members of society we commit ourselves to face all facts and to entertain all ideas that may be canvassed. Because we govern ourselves, we must have full and unrestricted access to all facts and all ideas. Democracy is the most dangerous of all social experiments because it condemns us to make decisions in full knowledge of all available facts and ideas"5. Anne Rawley Saldich also underscores the importance of a free media in a truly democratic society, when she observed (about the U.S.A and democracy). "(American) traditional Folklore neglects the fact that democracy only recently has begun to mature, that it is evolutionary, an on going process whose success depends upon communication systems that ensure a free flow of information. Without that infrastructure there is no informed public and no democracy. The United States has demonstrated this interdependence of technology and politics again and again, each time more convincingly. Whenever the United States tried to transplant democracy to nations whose leaders were willing, whose communication systems were weak and whose people were uninformed about public affairs, it failed. No matter how much money, effort or force accompanied American zeal, it was like planting fertile seed in a barren soil, because the relationship of democracy to a free (media) is vital, not incidental"6. Daniel Boorstin also agrees with the relevance of the electronic media to democracy when he said, "‌. One of the curious problems of democracy is the result of the development of the electronic media‌ We used to think of the conscience 11


being a private, intimate still small voice within. Now, the conscience of democracy becomes the whole community sitting in the living room watching (and listening to) what has been done" As John Madison himself did say: "a popular government without popular information or the means of 7 acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy or perhaps both" Thus, we need a free media to build a politically enlightened and responsible citizenry; to promote political participation and the building and evolution of positive cultural and individual identity. It is stating the obvious to observe that government has not been successful yet in reaching the entire communities, especially our rural communities that make up Nigeria. Indeed, it is sad that we are still unable to have an effective broadcast media that ensures effective nationwide coverage from the centre or centres to the periphery. It is this prevailing unfortunate situation that prompted one of Africa's most respected and celebrated statesmen, former President Julius Nyerere, to say that; "While some nations are going for the moon (and other planets) we (African nations) are still trying to reach the villages"8. A deregulated broadcast media will help government achieve identified national objectives and aspirations. A liberalized broadcast media will help to achieve an effective nationwide coverage without jeopardizing the interest of the government in power or the larger national interest. Additionally, the projection of indigenous culture will be sufficiently enhanced through local programming. Of course, the major motivation for an entrepreneur investing in the broadcast media as in any other commercial activity, is to make profit subject to the criteria of demand and supply, and striving to achieve competitive edge over competitors through quality service and customer satisfaction. No reasonable investor will deliberately endanger his huge investment in broadcasting by being on the wrong side of the law governing the industry. Government need not fear the possibility of abuse as it can enact minimal statutory restrictions to regulate the establishment and operation of private broadcast media. So far, the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, is doing well in this respect. Private broadcast media operators should be free to broadcast what they choose, subject to the laws of the land. Where they violate such laws, they should be made to face the consequences. Government need not even be afraid of private media houses broadcasting materials critical of government policies for it is difficult, if not impossible, for all the private broadcasting stations in the country or within a given area, to hold similar opinions. In other words, consensus among them will be rare, so long as government ensures that available airwaves or broadcast frequencies are spread among variety of outlets, among different organisations in such a way that each station is restricted in coverage to only a section of the population of the country. It would be expected in this circumstance, that expression of divergent opinions on different channels will cancel each other, or 12


at least will not constitute serious danger to government and to the nation. A dangerous precedent is currently being set by government. Rather than licence different (and multiple) organizations to cover specific defined areas in the country, government is allowing a few private organizations with powerful owners to establish private networks across the country. Incumbent governments may be driven or induced by transient selfish, personal or party interests in allowing these networks today, but the implications may be far reaching for the country in future as such private nationwide networks (where one organization is allowed to establish stations in different or all parts of the country) may become so powerful as to be capable of destabilizing future governments and even the entire nation. This policy should be reversed in the national interest. Government should grant licenses to different organizations across the country, each restricted and limited to a given area. Different licensed stations can then have an arrangement where they agree to form a network while each retains its corporate identity. The time is not yet ripe for such private nationwide network established by individual broadcast licensees. This is a dangerous trend with frightening future implications. It should not stand. Broadcast journalists should do well to realize the constructive and destructive power of the broadcast media. They should avoid acts that could compel government to erect impediments on the freedom of the electronic media. Broadcast journalists should resist the temptation to abuse or misuse their privileged access to the public and they should avoid sensationalism. It is hoped that the unfortunate longstanding strained relations that existed between the press and government will not be re-enacted in the electronic media. As somebody once succinctly observed: "One would think that the mass media's first duty should be to keep the people fully, accurately and truthfully informed and not to be partisan, b i a s e d a n d i n f l u e n c e d ‌ . Good faith with the public is the foundation of worthy journalism. If the public lacks confidence in the (media) in a society, then that (media) is as good as dead‌" National Concord, April 6, 1983, p2. THE ADVENT OF PRIVATE ELECTRONIC MEDIA IN NIGERIA The clamour for the privatisation of the broadcast media in Nigeria was on for a long time. However, in 1986, Prince Tony Momoh, then Minister of Information under President Ibrahim Babangida, hinted the nation of government desire to explore the possibilities of allowing private ownership of the electronic media. To this end, a panel was set up to look into the prospects of privatising the broadcast media. The panel at the end of its work recommended in favour of private ownership of the media. It was not until 1993 that the longstanding clamour for the deregulation of the broadcast media was actualised. In that year, 13


government issued the first batch of licenses to private organisations to establish and operate private broadcasting stations. Earlier in 1992, the then Federal Military Government enacted the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992. The Decree established the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, which has the responsibility, inter alia, of receiving, processing and considering applications for the ownership of radio and television stations, including cable television stations (both rebroadcasting and Direct satellite broadcasting), and any other medium of broadcasting. However, though the NBC grants provisional approvals to applicants for private broadcast licenses, final approval of a license to establish and operate private radio and television stations rests with the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces Section 1(I) (c). The Decree thus gave birth to private broadcasting in Nigeria. In June 1993, the first batch of licenses to establish and operate private television stations were released by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The first licensees were as follows: -

Channels Incorporation Limited Clapperboard Television Limited Degue Broadcasting Network Limited Desmims Broadcasting Nigeria Limited Galaxy Pictures Limited IBW Enterprises Limited Independent Broadcasting Network Minaj Systems Limited Murhi International Nig. Limited Prime Television Limited TDC Broadcasting Limited Triax Company Nigeria Limited, and Tripple Heritage Communications Limited.

Licenses were also granted to private organisations to operate cable/satellite television rebroadcasting stations. As at November, 1994, the following organisations were granted cable/satellite television rebroadcasting licenses: -

Hycom Limited Modern Communications Limited Pan Afriscope (Nig.) Limited Ultima Communications Limited Vibrant Communications Limited DASS Network Limited ABG Communications Limited Details Nigeria Limited Hashtronics Limited 14


-

MG Communications Limited Osam Associates Limited Parnek Systems Limited Satellite Network Systems Miras Communications Limited Amechi Magnetic Enterprises Limited Disc Engineering Limited Odosun Industries Limited ADMAC International Limited Anelwa Television Int. Limited IBW Enterprises Limited Comfax Nigeria Limited West Mid-Land Communications Limited Transmit Network Nigerian American Trading Company Dynamic Telecoms Services Electronic Communications Inc. Renaissance Communications Limited Satellite Telecommunications Limited Goldstein Satellite Network Limited Independent Communications Limited Broadcasting Service of Africa, and Minaj Systems Limited.

The first license to operate a private radio station was issued in August, 1994, to DAAR Communications Limited, which operates with the call sign Raypower 100FM. The First Direct Satellite Television license was issued in June 1995, also to DAAR Communications Limited, which operates the satellite station with the call sign AIT (Africa Independent Television). As at November, 1994, only three of the licensed television stations were on air. Several others were putting finishing touches to their test transmission. Of the thirty-two licensed cable / satellite retransmission stations, only eleven of them had started transmission in different locations across the country. The first licensed radio station Raypower 100FM - had already established a leadership position in radio broadcasting in Nigeria, and indeed in the West Africa coast. Raypower 100FM has proved that the ownership of broadcast stations by private organisations, poses no threat to government, nor does it jeopardize national interest. Rather, it has strengthened local programming, along the yearnings of the audiences within its radius of coverage. It is a credit to the Nigerian business community that individuals and 15


corporate bodies could venture into a highly capital intensive but very profitable enterprise as broadcasting, in such a high number in two years, and at a time when the country was going through harrowing crisis. It is also commendable that some of them have been able to muster enough capital as to make private broadcasting a practical reality in Nigeria, inspite of the untold economic crisis the country is going through. It is hoped that government will cultivate and foster a healthy relationship with the private broadcast media. The first step in this direction, we suggest, is for government to encourage and support private media owners by creating an enabling environment for a smooth and profitable operation of their stations, especially in providing foreign exchange at subsidized rates, a tax moratorium and duty-free importation of required equipment. Such gesture from Government will certainly be reciprocated by media operators. Indeed, everyone will benefit from a deregulated, democratized media Government, media operators, and the general public. They will all enjoy the benefits of a free media. As Anne R. Saldich rightly observed. " History supports the thesis that tolerance eventually increases as new techniques for interaction with strangers are introduced. Printing, transportation and electronic media have all helped to reduce fear and tension (in society)"9. PRIVATE BROADCASTING: A WORD FOR OPERATORS "Every time a new medium appears on the scene, we seem to expect revolutionary changes. The optimists stress the potential for education, the pessimists the possibility of abuse. For every expectation, so it appears, there is an equal and opposite expectation. Exorbitant claims are balanced by dire predictions, but most commentators agree that things will never be the same again" Kurt & Gladys Lang in their book Politics and Television.10 "There is no business that so thoroughly punishes the amateur. In a business such as ours, where boys and girls become men and women rapidly, you have to have a lot more than heart; you have to have that plus responsibility, sensitivity, judgement and understanding" Charles Browler.11 The entrance of broadcasting into the private domain in Nigeria in 1993 brought with it hope for a new beginning. As expectations rose to Olympian heights so did fears of the unknown and doubts that it would never work. The history of broken dreams, of mutual suspicions, of abuses and high-handedness between the press and successive governments in Nigeria were not particularly pleasant recollections that would inspire the promise of a smooth sail. But as time passed the feeling that a new dawn had indeed arrived, soon became widespread. 16


But much would depend on those on whom the responsibility of establishing and operating private broadcasting in Nigeria, fall. Would they rise up to the challenge? Would they fail the nation? Operators and prospective operators of private broadcast media must come to terms with the fact that it is indeed a most challenging, though exciting and rewarding venture. The privatisation of the broadcast media has raised hopes of a new era of entertainment in Nigeria; a new era characterised by improvement in programming, enhanced flow of information, education and audience satisfaction. It is expected that there will be improvement in broadcast services, credibility of broadcast content especially in news reporting, enhanced competition among licensed private and public broadcasting stations, positive diversity in programming and productions, wider choice for audiences, reduction of government influence, creation of employment opportunities, and quality entertainment. Nigerians expect that the boredom and monotony which have been the bane of government-owned media over the years, will be a thing of the past. Indeed, Nigerians look forward to exciting entertainment and the infinite positive rewards of a deregulated media. These are surely great expectations. They are legitimate, if not modest, expectations. Private operators of the broadcast media cannot afford to fail the nation. They cannot afford to undermine or compromise the expectations and interests of the people. As Sydney Head has rightly observed, the licensee is a trustee of public interest. His use of the channel is justified only in so far as he serves the public interest. His personal gain is 12 secondary to the public interest . Indeed, the licensee does not own a frequency. What he has is a temporary right to use a frequency or channel for the overall interest of the public who constitute the audiences of his broadcasts. Private operators of the broadcast media might be tempted to take the view that after all, they are providing free entertainment to the masses, as listeners and viewers do not pay fees (subscription) for open (as opposed to scrambled or encrypted) broadcast. Indeed, there is nothing like free TV or radio entertainment. The audiences of broadcast materials pay for their entertainment one way or the other. In this respect, Sydney Head wrote; "The radio listener or television viewer do not pay subscription rate or ticket price for programmes. However, they do pay a higher price for the service as a whole by purchasing, maintaining and operating receivers. Without receivers transmitters are useless. Advertising does defray the cost of programming commercial stations but the consumers' investment in receivers far outweigh, by many times, the investment of the industry in transmission facilities. This unique relationship of economic interdependence between producer and consumer in broadcasting needs to be borne in mind whenever making comparisons among and 13 generalizations about the mass media" . Expressing the same sentiments, Anne Rawley Saldich wrote: 17


"Broadcasters use the public's airwaves at no cost to themselves. Ironically, it is consumers (not just viewers) who pay for them to have this privilege. The system is really quite simple. Manufacturers raise the price of their ‌.advertised goods to meet the (media's) expensive rate, which are the source of broadcasters' steady and enormous profits. In that way, commercial (media) use the public's airwaves at no cost, and the public finances the arrangement. It is an undeclared system of (pay 14 media), or, in political terms, of taxation without representation" Thus, private operators of the broadcast media in Nigeria should show appreciation to the Nigerian public for this free-ride by making proper use of the airwaves and most times transmitting programmes that have relevance to the audiences; that is, public service programming, such as educational programmes, public enlightenment programmes programmes that may not find ready sponsors but which have great benefits for society collectively. Private operators of the broadcast media should ensure that they employ talented broadcasters, educators and entertainers who are innovative, creative and imaginative, to manage and operate their stations. At the management level, a broadcast organisation should employ experienced personnel with good knowledge of the industry. The advice of Elihu Katz and George Wedell in their book Broadcasting in the Third World, should be heeded. According to Katz and Wedell; "a broadcast organisation is a complex institution that demands a good understanding of the nature of communications technology, as well as understanding of a group of people actors, musicians, writers, producers who tend to be individualistic and idiosyncratic. Its leadership involves responsibility for a communications instrument that is thought to have a major influence on opinion and attitude formation ‌‌.All of these functions demand both strength of character and political awareness"15 The management of a private broadcasting station must be politically conscious. They must be people that understand and appreciate the political complexities and sensitivities of the audiences within the coverage radius of their broadcasting station, and the entire country. Thus provocative materials, sensationalism and unnecessary radicalism must not be given a place on the airwaves. Broadcast journalists must avoid partisanship. Broadcast journalists employed in private broadcasting stations should understand and respect the fact that perhaps the freedom given to their employers to establish private stations, at least in this early period, if not for all times and circumstances, is predicated or conditional upon non-interference in the political affairs of the country, with perhaps the unwritten rule of uncritical support of government. This way, they can save their jobs and the huge investments of their employers. However, where they choose to be critical, such criticism must be constructive, fair and balanced, serving the general good; 18


not meant to serve the selfish interests of their employers. Such criticisms must not jeopardize peace and social harmony. And they must recommend viable alternatives for the policy or action they criticize. Prospective private broadcast operators must address seriously and urgently the problem of sourcing capital, especially foreign exchange for the procurement of broadcast equipment transmission, reception and production equipment. It is better to address this problem before applying for broadcast licenses. Otherwise, the licensee may have his approved license withdrawn, where he fails to meet the deadline to establish and begin operation, that is, where he delays in utilizing his license. It must be noted here that once a license is granted to operate a broadcast station, channels or frequencies are allocated or attached to the license. During the pendency of the license (until revoked, denied renewal or voluntary withdrawal of license by the licensee), the licensee has exclusive use of the channels or frequencies allocated or attached, and in the event of nonutilization, or long delay, denies other prospective users, of same. EQUIPMENT PROCUREMENT AND MANPOWER DEVELOPMENT In sourcing and procuring equipment, care must be taken to ensure that there are available and easy supply of spare parts. Private broadcasting stations require trained man-power in the area of production of programmes, management and media marketing. In these areas, Nigeria has considerable talents that can compete favorably with any part of the world. However, the problem area would be engineering and technical staff. Though available manpower in this area is not lacking, training facilities and methods in our higher institutions of learning are not sufficient as to be capable of developing the imagination of trainees to imbibe and encourage development techniques of improvisation and problem solving. The result, as a commentator puts it, is that our institutions of learning turn out engineers who are competent as long as all spare parts are available, but who are helpless in their absence. Our engineers and technicians should be encouraged to learn the techniques of improvisation as we cannot continue to expend scarce foreign exchange in procuring spare parts for broadcast equipment. Our institutions of higher learning should be assisted with training facilities that will develop the imagination of trainees to improvisation and problem solving methods. Government should contribute in this respect by equipping and funding such departments in our higher institutions adequately. Also, the NBC could impose a compulsory contribution by licensed stations either from their net income or a standardized levy, to be directed towards equipping relevant departments of our higher institutions in this respect. Alternatively, Government should establish and sufficiently finance broadcast training schools as the TV College, Jos, where employees of broadcast stations can acquire practical knowledge in their areas of specialization. We suggest that the equivalent of TV 19


College, Jos, be established in Enugu, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. Engineering graduates as well as other graduates of broadcasting-related disciplines could undergo periodic training in such institutions. Whether under this suggested arrangement or otherwise, periodic training of staff in which employees are exposed to current technology of broadcasting, should be encouraged. Broadcast stations' staff should be enabled to be versatile in their service to the station, by being trained to be capable of handling more than one aspect of the station's operations, departments or sections. For instance, journalists (news correspondents) can be trained to combine news gathering with camera operation and vice versa. Departmental transfers, where staff are made to move from one department to the other, should be encouraged. By so doing, broadcast stations can reduce their operational costs considerably. Floor and studio managers, lighting experts, producers, directors, sound technicians, media marketers, can all be trained interchangeably in every other department. Stations should ensure that at the stage of procurement of broadcast equipment, arrangements are made for training of technical staff by the equipment manufacturers or suppliers. This is very important. Efforts should be made to ensure that the engineers or technical staff employed by the station are trained after the procurement or purchase of the equipment by the manufacturers/suppliers. These trained staff should enter into a minimum of fiveyear contract term of employment with the station. This is to avoid a situation where such engineers / technical staff resign shortly after such training, which may lead to difficulties of maintenance of the equipment they have been trained at the expense of the company, to maintain. The trained engineers and technicians should themselves train others to ensure continuity. There should also be regular equipment updating by the station. Stations should be up-to-date with latest broadcast technologies. Private operators of broadcast media should ensure that they comply with all the provisions of the relevant laws and legislation governing the industry. By so doing, the chequered history of government-press relations in Nigeria would not be re-enacted in the private electronic media. Broadcast stations should not allow themselves to be used to destabilize the nation. Harmful prejudice, stereotypes and sentiments must be avoided and expunged from broadcast materials. They should adopt and maintain objectivity and distance themselves from partisan politics. Their immense potentials for the enhancement and development of society should be maximized to the full. They should be positively patriotic and must respect and abide by the laws of the land. They should at all times avoid anything capable of compromising national security. Finally, we suggest that the National Broadcasting Commission should guard against proliferation of private broadcast media houses, in order to avoid re20


enacting the crisis that bedeviled the banking sector in Nigeria in recent years. The NBC should encourage people interested in establishing private electronic media houses to come together, gather resources and establish viable broadcasting stations, rather than allowing everybody to go it all alone and in the end establishing substandard, mushroom stations. And rather than revoking the licenses of organisations who find it difficult to utilize their channels or frequencies granted and allocated to them, the NBC can broker mergers among applicants for licenses for the same location, who can then gather required resources to establish a truly viable station. For a beginning, a maximum of six radio stations and six television stations should suffice for each NBC zone or region of the country, and then increased progressively as the existing stations prove themselves. It is important for government to realize that the media strengthen democracy and democratic institutions. A democratized, liberalized media will enhance political socialization and further empower the electorates to make objective choices and contributions which will further strengthen collective socio-economic and political development. An enlightened citizenry is a vital condition for the sustainable development of society. THE NIGERIAN TELEVISION AUTHORITY, NTA In 1988, the Federal Military Government promulgated Decree No. 25. The Decree enunciated the privatization and commercialization of government parastatals. Under the Decree, the worth of all government agencies were to be assessed, their viability ascertained, and, based on such findings, to advise whether such agencies be outrightly sold to the public, to make them selfsustaining by strict commercialization or to partially subvent them until they become self-sustaining. The NTA was one of such agencies of government envisaged by the Decree. In 1992, a performance agreement was signed between the Federal Government, The Technical Committee on Privatization and Commercialization, TCPC, and the NTA. The agreement placed the responsibility for funding the rehabilitation and replacement of NTA's obsolete equipment on Government. Today, NTA is partially commercialized. In recent years, the NTA appears to have woken up from a long slumber; programming has improved, there has been wider national reach and the technical capabilities of the stations under NTA have been strengthened. It is noteworthy that NTA stations located in areas where the best private broadcast stations exist, have been competing remarkably favourably with such private stations. We hope that this trend will continue. It is only in such an environment of positive or constructive competition that the very best of broadcasting can emerge in Nigeria. Then, the broadcast industry in Nigeria would become a model not only for Africa but also for other parts of the world. Indeed, the latent potentials of the broadcast 21


media in Nigeria are enormous. And because the media strengthen democracy, such competition is healthy for Nigeria. Perhaps one can safely say that the NTA's mission statement has met with more practical success recently. The NTA's mission statement is to: -

inform entertain and enlighten the Nigeria television audience, while maintaining its (NTA's) leadership position in television broadcasting. enrich the life of the Nigerian by influencing positively his social, cultural, economic, political and technological thinking through a wide choice of programmes; operate for the benefit of all Nigerians, recognising and reflecting diversities in cultures, values, interests, and needs; contribute to the development of a shared national consciousness, cohesion and identity provide high quality programmes which are commercially viable; employing new technologies and up-to-date techniques available in the industry; and remain competitive, in a profit-oriented manner. We commend the NTA initiative and hope that the Federal Government would continue to support this remarkable self-reinvention by the Authority. The NTA has a National Governing Board, comprising a chairman and nine other members. The Board oversees the policy and broadcast standard of the Authority. The Director General is the Chief Executive of the Authority. He is also a member of the Board. The Director-General is assisted by five Executive Directors who together with the Director General form the Board of Management. At the state level, each NTA station is headed by a General Manager. The stations hook up with the Network at given times, and they also produce local programmes to meet the expectations of the people (audience) residing in the host states. We suggest that the NTA should make its stations located in the states more of relay stations. We suggest a ratio of 80% network and 20 percent local productions. Our reasons are:

1.

Almost all state governments own or are about to own television stations. These stations are sufficient sources of local productions for their respective states. There are also several private broadcasting stations in states across the country that produce local programmes which address community and other local concerns, subjects or issues. We need a wider national perspective to issues in order to further unite our people through shared national consciousness, cultural fluidity and widening of horizons of perception. It is the major responsibility of the NTA (and it is within the 22


capacity of the Authority) to make a true nation of Nigeria. 2.

NTA stations at the state levels are over-staffed, which translates to enormous costs in staff salaries and other entitlements. Such overheads should be used to strengthen the technical capabilities of the stations, to achieve wider national reach. Finally, we advise that state governments should fund their stations adequately to enable them achieve their statutory objectives. No doubt, the liberalization of the broadcast media in Nigeria will advance robustly into television and radio of abundance and selectivity in programming, and development of the nation. For it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a vital nexus between a free media and national development. It is self-evident that the media constitute a viable constructive force for national advancement, peace and unity.

SHOULD GOVERNMENT MEDIA CARRY ON ADVERTISING? Broadcasting in Nigeria was from the very beginning a colonial inheritance. In 1956, the first truly Nigerian broadcast station was born through an Act of Parliament No. 39 (of 1956). From 1933 to 1956, the nearest equivalent to a broadcast station in Nigeria was merely a relay station broadcasting programmes from the BBC in far away London, to listeners in Nigeria. Even the 1951 establishment of the Nigerian Broadcasting Service did not change the status quo. It was in 1957 that a truly Nigerian station, broadcasting Nigerian programmes, was established through the instrumentality of the Act of Parliament No. 39 of 1956, which gave birth to the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC. A national radio station was established. Radio stations were simultaneously established in each of the three regions. In the East there was the Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service (ENBS). The West had the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service WNBS, while the North had the Northern Nigeria Broadcasting Company (NNBC). However, the national station, NBC, was not established for profit purposes and therefore did not engage in Advertising. Thus the first public (governmentowned) broadcasting station in Nigeria was established strictly as a public service station, financed and sustained by the public. However, the regional stations allowed advertising. The strictly public service character of national broadcast stations would change in future. The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN and the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, both offsprings of the NBC, would shift from the character of their pedigree, even their grand parent, the BBC, which till date 23


functions as strictly public service media, fed, groomed, and sustained with tax payers money, and does not engage in advertising. Since the deregulation of the broadcast media in Nigeria in 1992, when broadcasting entered the private domain, questions have been repeatedly asked as to whether the FRCN and the NTA still have the moral and ethical basis to continue to carry on with advertising. In other words, is it right for a public financed station such as the FRCN and the NTA to continue to lend themselves to commercial advertising? Should a public station financed with tax payers' money not restrict itself strictly to public service programming that caters absolutely for the general public interest in programming and subject matter, rather than pandering to the capitalist private sector agenda and interests? Should what the public hears and sees on the media established and sustained by their own money be determined by what narrow commercial interests consider worthy of their (advertisers') support or sponsorship? Would the interests of the people not be compromised by a public cum commercial media where political campaigns and contests would naturally become a game of who has more money, with the implication of disenfranchising certain categories of the populace, especially those who do not have the resources but have an honest interest to serve the general good? Would it not amount to double taxation for the public that sustains the media through taxes to be further taxed with advertising and advertising's unrelenting assault on the psyche of the public? Does it not amount to approbating and reprobating at the same time for government which has in policy deregulated the broadcast media to also compete with licensed private broadcasting stations for advertising revenue? In our considered opinion, it is improper for government stations which are established and sustained with tax payers money to carry on advertising especially in an environment where private broadcast media exist. Nigeria gained her political independence from Britain and tailored her political and social institutions along British models, though it failed in the beginning to adopt the British liberal humanist broadcast structure in which private ownership of the media was allowed. It, however, initially followed the British public broadcasting system where public broadcasting was financed by the public and therefore did not embrace advertising. That would change in years to come when public financed stations in Nigeria embraced advertising. Nigeria should return to the past when public broadcasting stations depended absolutely on public finance for sustenance. To carry on advertising on public media is in our opinion to short change the people. The FRCN and the NTA should leave advertising to the private media and concentrate on public service programming. There are unlimited issues and subjects bordering on the public good which are not addressed by the public media whose attention is now on how to make more money and not how to meet the needs of the people in the areas of 24


education, information and entertainment. If the BBC has been funded by the public and the British Government over the years, with the BBC's acclaimed outstanding performance records, then the Federal Government of Nigeria should follow that model, which is also the model in other European developed economies like Germany, France and elsewhere. Even state governments should finance their radio and television stations. Those that are not capable of doing so should forget the idea of owning their own broadcast stations. In any case, they have repeatedly complained that their state owned media houses have shown that they are incapable of self-sustenance. All levels of Government should finance their stations and leave advertising to private commercial media. Government may look for other sources of finance to fund and sustain public broadcasting stations, such as charging TV (set) license fees on every TV set in the country. Revenue from such fees would then be shared between the Federal Government, the state government and perhaps private stations existing in the respective states. GLOBALIZATION AND THE FUTURE OF BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA Information Technology is perhaps the world's fastest growing sector. Today multi (mass) media communication, the computer and the internet have converged. This convergence has left traditional media forms in self doubt as to their future and relevance in the new information order. With this convergence comes globalization a new world information system which respects no religious, national, racial or ethnic divides or borders. From the remotest villages of Africa, access can now be had to the centres of world trade and entertainment. While the basic factors for Africa's full involvement in the new globalization concept: literacy; availability of telephones and computer facilities to majority of the people are not yet guaranteed on the continent, and as poverty on the continent of Africa remains a rampaging monster, globalization poses considerable challenges to traditional media in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. The danger of cultural dominance by the Western world and other developed nations gets ever stronger as local broadcast stations are losing audiences to foreign stations through cable satellite television, the computer/internet / multimedia convergence, and the world space/satellite radio. In the 70s and 80s, Africa's fears of Western cultural domination emanated from foreign programmes on television, movies as well as musical materials on radio from the Western world, which threatened our cultural identity and values. Today, however, cultural domination is even more reinforced by recent media configurations and marriages. Indeed our culture faces possibilities of not just total invasion but annexation and extinction. While our local audiences have access to foreign programmes, we lack the ability to reach foreign audiences. The 25


Third World will be the loser in this one-way globalization system that lacks fairness and hardly provides them an opportunity to compete fairly and favourably. And their technological inferiority and incapacity aggravate their weakness. While the new world information order places television in a position to become the most important tool in the home, fears have been raised as to the continued relevance of radio. But radio has continued to survive in the most developed technologies of the West where the convergence of communication and broadcasting is strongest. Indeed at every point of emergence of new communication systems in history, many believed that the old modes of communication would no longer be relevant. When radio emerged, many feared that the print media would die. But it survived. When television entered the stage it was feared that the print and radio media would die a natural death. But those forms of media have survived till date. Infact all media have been mutually supportive, complementing and supplementing one another. And they would continue to do so as every media form has its own unique function and attraction. The challenge for broadcasters in Africa is to find ways of taking advantage of the new world information order. The first challenge would be to explore new areas of programming and packaging that would attract international audience, programmes that treat and show -case the unique African culture and experience. This is one aspect that is unique to Africa which the world would welcome and appreciate. India is a remarkable example in this regard. That country has continued to compel international attention to its culture through its media and entertainment outputs. The second challenge is for broadcasters in Africa to link their stations to the internet to provide the entire world an opportunity to experience our media content instantaneously. African radio and television contents should be fed into the internet. Government should provide assistance in this respect. Indeed, it is unfortunate that Nigeria has lost several opportunities in the past to sell her culture to the rest of the world. The greatest cultural event in the Black world, Festac' 77 which compelled global attention, should have been followed with even more aggressive, assertive efforts to reach the world with our cultural contents through the media. Even more disturbing is the fact that we have failed as a nation to reach the entire country with our contents. We have also failed to bring the best of our different indigenous cultures together into a single whole, which would have helped us create a unique identity in our music, broadcast and motion picture contents. Thus we need to achieve a complete coverage of our nation with information and music, broadcast and motion picture contents. Private broadcast stations, community radio and the developing home video industry can all help in this respect. And then we must 26


move on to reach Black Africa, Blacks in the Diaspora and then the entire world. This should be our strategy. At the same time, attempts should be made to marry different cultures of the various ethnic groups in our country and produce what would be a unique Nigerian identity. India has demonstrated that this is possible. COMMUNITY RADIO It is an unfortunate oversight that in drafting the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992, community radio which has become a positive trend in broadcasting today, especially in the Third World, was omitted. From the earliest stages of broadcasting in Nigeria, government, which until recently enjoyed a strong monopoly in establishment, operation and control of the media, sought to reach the entire country, including rural communities, in their goal of facilitating the socio-cultural and economic development of the nation. While the Federal Government established radio and television stations across different parts of the country, state governments also established their own radio and television stations. Usually, state governments established one television station and two radio stations FM and AM bands respectively. While FM stations targeted the urban dwellers, particularly the youths and the industrial / business community-mostly the sophisticated segment of the population, the AM bands targeted the rural communities- different cultures, languages and socio economic backgrounds. However, government ability to address individual community needs and concerns through these stations, were limited. Certain problems are peculiar to different communities. Such problems cannot be adequately addressed through radio and television stations located in the cities. Radio is the most effective tool of mass communication today in Africa and Third World countries generally. Since government can hardly reach the rural communities, the need arises for the establishment of community radio stations in different communities to address the peculiar problems and concerns of such communities. Community radio is a recent concept in mass communication. Community radio stations are established to facilitate community development and social change. They provide the much needed platform for addressing community needs and concerns as well as information, education and entertainment for communities. Community radio will succeed where government stations have failed to strengthen civil society, to foster peace and unity, particularly in highly restive rural communities. Community radio stations are nearer to people in rural communities who are then enabled to participate fully in programming. Programme contents are tailored to suit individual communities. Community problems are discussed and solutions proffered through community radio. Community radio will revive our lost social harmony in some of our rural 27


communities where local methods to social problems would be applied in every situation. It will help revive our positive values and culture and reduce considerably negative foreign influences which have permeated all facets of our society. A community radio, broadcasting from a rural community, will help revive the local economies of our rural communities by improving on the living conditions of rural dwellers. This will in turn reduce the disturbing trend of mass migration to cities and urban centres, a situation that has increased social vices and environmental problems in our crowded cities. Community radio expedites community development; (civic) education, democratic values and community self reliance will be enhanced through this powerful medium. Problems such as crime, unemployment, poverty, sanitation, health, among others, are better addressed through community radio which provides an opportunity and platform for debate on community problems. Government - owned broadcast stations, transmitting from the cities, attempt to reach every community. Communities have their different peculiar problems and culture. For instance, the communities of the Niger Delta have different cultures as well as different means of livelihood. While some communities are mainly farming, agricultural communities, others are fishing communities. Each of these communities have their peculiar needs. Rural community radio located in these different communities will address the problems peculiar to the respective communities. Community radio will help sustain democracy. Our rural communities need to be well educated and informed on the virtues of democracy and the need to collectively protect it. They need to know what constitutes electoral fraud, the different ramifications of electoral fraud, ways to prevent such fraud as well as the dangers and implications of electoral fraud. Indeed, if our rural communities, where the majority of citizens reside, are enlisted in the battle against electoral fraud, human rights abuses and other social problems, our society will witness a dramatic change. A politically passive populace provide a favourable environment for bad governance and socio political disharmony. If we desire to strengthen democracy, to develop our socio - political institutions, we must first strengthen civil society. And it must be emphasized that the panacea for misrule, corruption in government, ethnicity, nepotism, electoral fraud and other vices in Third World countries, especially in Africa, is an enlightened pro-active citizenry who would insist that votes be properly counted and electoral fraud of all kinds including rigging of elections, be stamped out. The moment elections are properly conducted fairly and freely and votes are properly counted without fraud, leadership in Africa will become transparent, accountable and responsible. Arrogance among some political leaders will naturally give way to responsive leadership. The greatest impediment to African Renaissance is electoral fraud. No institution or agency is better equipped to stamp it out than our citizens, 28


beginning from our rural communities. This reinforces the need for community radio in Nigeria. Education and information are basic building blocks of development. Community radio will empower local communities, strengthen their economic base and address their concerns, facilitate circulation of ideas and provide a necessary platform for farmer information / education on farming methods, research findings, preservation methods, waste control methods, diseases and cures for plants, animals and humans; tourism, positive and negative community cultural practices etc. Community radio reaches every community dweller literate and illiterate, rich and poor and addresses problems which hinder harmony, interaction and development. The benefits, functions and role of community radio cannot be overemphasized. What is needed now is for government to appreciate the necessity of community radio and provide a legal framework through legislation for the establishment and operation of community radio in Nigeria. Indeed, the NBC decree should be reviewed and community radio should be given prominent priority. Ten kilometer radius can be allowed for community radio stations within urban areas while twenty to fifty kilometers radius can be allowed for community radio stations located in distant rural areas. WHO CAN ESTABLISH? Broadcasting in Nigeria was liberalized in 1992. Since then several private broadcast licenses have been issued and most of the stations have commenced transmission. Community Radio should not be allowed to follow the trend of government and private (commercial) broadcasting. Prospective investors in commercial (private) broadcasting may find a viable alternative in community radio which they may resort to, to by-pass the understandably rigorous processes of acquiring licenses to establish private commercial broadcast stations. So could local government councils across the country who may want to turn community radio stations into political organs. We suggest that community radio should not be surrendered to politics and commerce. Local government councils may want to duplicate the trend at the state level where government-owned media have over the years become official propaganda tools of the government in power, pandering completely to the whims of politicians and government officials. Local government councils and officials may not resist the temptation of using community radio to advance their selfish political ambition, rather than using it to serve the interests of the local community. On the other hand, leaving community radio in the hands of private investors, driven by strictly profit motives, may also jeopardize the purpose and role of community radio. We believe that the best people to be licensed to own and operate community radio are the local communities themselves, through a kind of co-operative. 29


Communities should pull resources together to finance the establishment and operation of community radio. Nigerian communities have over the years embraced self help methods in very vital areas of community needs and development. Some have built town halls, stadia, schools, worship centres, sunk boreholes, built roads, hospitals and several other projects. Such communities can also undertake community radio. Community radio ownership should not be restricted to individual towns. Different communities in a local council could pull resources together to establish and operate a station. For instance, Ibusa and Okpanam, both neighbouring communities in Delta State, could pull resources together to jointly establish community radio. So also could Woji, Elelenwo and Rumukurushi, all towns around Port - Harcourt, Rivers State. Several towns and villages that have common boundary, culture, means of livelihood etc could jointly establish community radio. Farmers Association and Fishing Co-operatives within given communities could come together, source the required fund and establish community radio stations. Non Governmental Organisations, NGOs, of different interests, could also help establish community radio in different communities in the country. However, local government councils, state governments and the Federal Government may help communities establish community radio. This can be done through subsidizing the cost of acquiring transmitters, training of staff, and where possible, pay monthly subventions to them, so long as that will not lead to interference, other than regulation by the National Broadcasting Commission. Community radio stations may also be allowed to carry on commercial advertising to sustain them. Some observers may argue that advertising may compromise the purpose of advancing social change and ideals which community radio is all about. We do not share this view. A limited volume of advertising may be allowed per hour in community radio. Small-scale community businesses will find in community radio a means of advertising their products and services. Community radio stations could be restricted to taking only commercial advertisements of local businesses within the community and the coverage area allowed for the stations, so as not to compromise the social interest promotion for which community radio was designed. Obituary announcements, anniversaries, wedding announcements, social events announcements, church activities etc. could be very good sources of revenue for community radio stations. Fundraising is another way of keeping community radio going. Communities could organise fundraising for their community radio during festive periods when their sons and daughters come home from far and wide. Such fundraising could be done annually or twice every year. Funds raised would be used to maintain equipment, pay salaries and take care of other costs of operation. International 30


organisations could also be approached for support in establishing and operating community radio stations. Several international organisations exist that give such support. It is left for community radio stations or promoters of such stations to identify such organisations and seek their support. Programming in community radio should be restricted to only what serves community needs; such as political education on democratic values, civic responsibility, moral instructions, improvement of community living standards, entrepreneurial development, farming, fishing or trading skills, small scale enterprises, how to set up a business, the law of the land, co-operation and mutual support, good neigbourliness, women empowerment, the environment and sanitation issues, the vanity of vices, the destructive power of drugs, crime and teenage pregnancy etc. Indeed programming in community radio should be tailored to meet the needs and concerns of the local community. Facilities housing the station should not be elaborate so as to avoid wasting enormous resources on maintenance. Only the basic facilities should be built such as infrastructure housing the equipment and studios, masts, adequate fencing and other security facilities etc. Community radio stations need not carry on long hours of broadcasts daily. Between two, three or four hours broadcast in the mornings and between six and seven hours in the evening/night should suffice. This will give the transmitters less stress and also give station workers sufficient time to package their news programmes. Efforts should be made to have easy and regular access to other community radio stations in and outside the country and to get news materials from all over the world which may be relevant to the community. Co-operation by regular meetings (possibly through forming an Association of Community Radio Operators in Nigeria) between different community radio stations, sharing of ideas, staff exchange and programme exchange among the stations etc will greatly enhance their programme content and survival. Nigeria should join the growing number of African counties that have fully embraced and are implementing community radio. South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Ghana, Benin Republic, among others, are at different stages of community radio development. The federal and state governments need not continue expanding the radio stations under their control. Community radio is what African communities need for full integration, participation and involvement in their societies, through information, entertainment education, and communication. Government should now provide a legal framework as well as an enabling environment for the proliferation of community radio in Nigeria. It is in the interest of the nation.

31


REFERENCES 1. Culled from the book Mass Communication in Nigeria: A Book of Reading (1985) Fourth Dimension Publishers. See also Onuora Nwuneli's Development News and Broadcasting in Nigeria: An Overview. 2.

Sydney W. Head, Broadcasting in America (1972) Houghton Mufflin Company, P. 495. This book has been most helpful in our research. We are indebted.

3.

John E. Ivey Jr., Communications as a Social Instrument, in University of Illionois Institute for Communications Research, Communication in Modern Society (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1948) P. 148. Sydney W. Head, Ibid at page 500.

4. 5.

Siepman, Charles. Radio, Television and Society, New York: Oxford University Press, 1950, P18

6.

Anne Rawley Saldich, Electronic Democracy: Television's Impact on the American Political Process, 1979, Praeger Publishers, page 49.

7.

Culled from Broadcasting in America, Sydney W. Head, Ibid.

8.

Former President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.

9. 10.

Anne Rawley Saldich, Ibid at page 53 Kurt and Gladys Lang, Politics and Television (Chicago: Quardrangle Books, 1968) page 14.

11.

Culled from Broadcast Management (Radio & Television) by Ward L. Quaal and James A. Brown (Hastings) House, New York, 1974)

12.

Sydney W. Head, Ibid at page 441

13.

Sydney W. Head, Ibid at page 251

14.

Anne Rawley Saldich, Ibid at page 26

15.

Elihu Katz and George Wedell, Broadcasting in the Third World, page 115

32


CHAPTER TWO THE PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS OF GOVERNMENT OWNED BROADCAST MEDIA IN NIGERIA Before the privatization of the broadcast media in Nigeria by the Babangida administration in 1992, only government (states and federal) had radio and television stations. The Federal Government had at least a radio station in each of the three regions of Nigeria. The stations were located in Kaduna, Enugu and Ibadan. Lagos alone had three federal government-owned radio stations Radio Nigeria one, two and three. All the radio stations owned by the federal government of Nigeria are managed, maintained, supervised and controlled by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN. The Federal Government of Nigeria also has the Voice of Nigeria, VON, which is mainly an external service station meant to broadcast to the rest of the world. The Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, manages, controls, maintains and supervises all television stations owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Unlike the FRCN, the NTA has television stations in most states of the federation. Since the first creation of states in Nigeria, we have witnessed a proliferation of radio and television stations mostly owned by state governments. During the Second Republic, States that were governed by parties different from the party in control at the centre, established their own state radio and television stations to counteract what they considered as political propaganda of the federal government. Indeed, political considerations motivated most state governments of the Second and Third Republics to establish their own state radio and television stations. Thus, it was not unusual to have different interpretations of news from the federal and state owned stations, respectively. In most cases where the party in control of a state was different from the party in control of the centre, news content, presentation and interpretation were different and sometimes conflicting. Such a situation could be highly dangerous for a nation as ours where primordial sentiments such as tribalism and religious intolerance are still deep-seated. In such environment, the sensitivities of the masses could be taken advantage of by desperate politicians and mischief makers. That has the negative potentials of degenerating to lawlessness and violence. A case in point was the political crisis of 1993. At that time some state governments used their public media houses to oppose the centre and to identify with their political soul mates. But for subsequent events that nipped in the bud what could have been a tragic slide to civil strife, such state governments opposing the center, who found their stateowned stations a potent tool in their campaign of opposition, may have further enmeshed the country in deeper crisis. Thus, while government pays attention to maintaining considerable control on the activities of private owned electronic media houses, it also has to find ways and means of controlling all levels of 33


government in their use of the media in promoting and advancing their own interests, or in opposing one another. There are positive motivations, though, in the desire of state governments to establish state-owned broadcasting houses. Perhaps the most important of such positive motivations is the desire to spread information to the grassroots and to promote peace and harmony among the people of the state. Indeed, state owned broadcasting houses are known to have achieved considerable success in the flow of information to the grassroots. This has helped state governments to adequately keep the citizens of their respective states well informed on government programmes and policies. That way the people are better able to identify with and support government. Entertainment is also further enhanced. In this respect, the practice of establishing two radio stations by state governments is commendable in so far as such states can finance and maintain the stations. Usually, state governments maintain two stations FM and AM bands. While the AM stations concentrate mainly on the culture and traditions of the people of the state, and broadcast news and other programmes in the local languages in the state; the FM stations provide entertainment for the youth and the more sophisticated class of society, mostly residing in the capital and urban centres of the state. Educational broadcasting is another area where state owned broadcasting stations have achieved tremendous success. A notable example is the UNIAIR programme whereby broadcasting houses undertake joint venture arrangements with higher institutions of learning in which courses in different disciplines are packaged and broadcast on radio and television. At the end of every programme (usually, the duration is one year higher than the number of years it takes regular student), students on the project are awarded certificates. The project is usually a joint venture, whereby the broadcasting stations contribute their airtime, while the institutions contribute their technical and intellectual support by making their lecturers and facilities available on the project, and awarding their certificates to desiring students at the end of their programmes. Educational broadcasting is one area that holds tremendous promise for public and private-owned broadcasting stations. It is hoped that they will all exploit the great possibilities in this area, for, while such joint ventures generate revenue for the broadcasting stations and the higher institutions involved, respectively, the society is better for it as the battle against illiteracy is further advanced. The Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) deserves special commendation in this respect. The organisation has proved that educational broadcasting can be a functionally effective operational success in Nigeria. The first attempt to introduce educational broadcasting in Nigeria was in 1953. However, it was not until 1959 that it came close to becoming an operational reality. In 1959, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation requested the Ford Foundation to help it in establishing a Federal Schools Broadcasting Service in Ibadan. The Ford Foundation responded positively to the request; it provided $(U.S.) 250,000 to 34


launch the service. The Ford Foundation also agreed to maintain the service for eighteen months. At the first stage of the project, over five hundred programmes were recorded for stock. However, a combination of several factors led to the failure of the project: much of the recorded materials was of poor quality and the project did not receive the much needed support from the regional ministries of information. Moreover, the project started on a rather too ambitious note. The result was that the huge investments on the first stage of the project and the expenditure incurred on an even more expensive second stage, was wasted. Perhaps the hard words of an enraged Brazilian newspaper on a similar project failure in Brazil in the early 70s, would best describe the frustration of Nigerians at the failure of the experiment. The Brazilian newspaper wrote: "What has been and is being done in the country (Brazil) in the area of educational radio and television ‌ may be defined without fear, as an anti-pedagogic synthesis as regards content and as a carnival of more or less pretentious dilethantism as regards technique and creative solutions"1 The Federal Ministry of Information also initiated another educational broadcasting project (UNIAIR) in the Eighties. That too turned out to be a spectacular failure. Educational broadcasting can succeed in Nigeria if government commits itself to it. We believe that a nationwide educational broadcasting project can work if everyone concerned gives it all it takes to succeed. Government's huge investments in building and maintaining public schools and the difficulties in payment of teachers salaries which has become a recurrent embarrassing national feature could be a thing of the past if educational broadcasting is effectively functional in Nigeria. PROBLEMS FACING GOVERNMENT OWNED STATIONS One noticeable feature of most government - owned establishments is that they are usually less viable and less effectively run and managed than private-owned organisations. With particular reference to government owned broadcasting houses, whether owned by the Federal or State governments, the story is the same. The factors that inhibit the viability of government-owned media in Nigeria are several. They include the following: 1.

Bureaucracy: This is the bane of all governments and their agencies. A broadcasting house requires a level of independence in judgment and decision making. Thus, with trusted and reliable staff, there should be some independence in operation and management. Indeed, broadcasting being a "living" business, requires dedicated and highly intelligent staff who can "think on their toes". Instant decisions have to be made on regular basis to sustain the interest of the audience. Such independence in 35


decision making cannot obtain in an atmosphere of straight jacket style bureaucracy. 2. Overstaffing: Government-owned broadcasting houses carry a lot of overhead costs which result from the politicization of employment. The tendency is for new administrations (this obtains mostly at the state levels) to use the media houses as avenues of distributing political patronage by employing people in their broadcasting stations, without considerations whatsoever of the viability of the stations. A good example in this respect was a broadcasting house in the South East. During the Third Republic, almost half of the members of the State legislature at one time or the other were sending notes to the chief executive of the broadcasting house to employ their candidates. These were besides similar notes from the governor of the state, commissioners, directors general etc. The chief executive of the broadcasting house would ignore those notes at his own peril; he may lose his job if he failed to honour them. Unfortunately, it is the same government that is unable to pay workers' salaries and turns around eventually to threaten the broadcasting houses with withdrawal of subventions because they failed to operate profitably. Thus, most state owned broadcasting houses are highly over-staffed, making it impossible for them to be independent of government funding. At every annual state budget announcement, it is now standard practice to hear threats of closing down unviable state owned organisations. Yet government knows where the problems lie; it overstaffs these organisations thereby making it difficult for them to be self-reliant and self-sustaining, which makes government subventions inevitable. Solution: Government must allow the management of public broadcasting stations to exercise a level of independence in staff recruitment. Only the minimum number of staff required for effective running of the stations, should be employed. It is better to have viable government owned organisations and use the revenue they generate to establish other viable ventures, than to render such organisations unviable and in consequence spend so much money annually in form of subventions to support them. In any case, without profits, an organisation can hardly pay its staff regularly, which is usually the case with state governmentowned broadcasting stations. 3.

EQUIPMENT ACQUISITION AND MAINTENANCE: The acquisition of obsolete and substandard equipment at the price of recent (new) state of-the art models, is perhaps a trend not peculiar to government owed broadcasting stations. This is usually done by contractors in collaboration with some top government officials. The story was once told of a Nigerian contractor who was given the contract to source, import and install sophisticated equipment for a production line in one of the major ogranisations that generate the highest revenue for the country. The story has it that the contractor went to a country in Eastern Europe and acquired an obsolete equipment that was used in 36


far back Sixties. He acquired the equipment, imported, installed and began test production. Just at the initial stage of test production the equipment broke down and the contractor went back to the suppliers for repairs. Technical staff of the suppliers were flown into the country at government expense. The equipment was repaired. After a few months, it broke down again. Meanwhile, the contractor had long collected his fees; any subsequent job he handled on the equipment was an added cost on government. Eventually, the foreign equipment suppliers offered to buy back the equipment in order to save costs! Eventually, the cost of buying back the equipment was more than the cost of purchase. That indeed is an effective way of saving costs for government! For a developing Third World country as Nigeria that is still completely dependent on advanced nations for the technology of production, and even the maintenance of such technology, it will be sometime yet before we can completely overcome the fraudulent practice of short-changing by dubious contractors and their equally dubious foreign collaborators and some government officials. Maintenance of broadcasting equipment is a problem among government owned broadcast stations. Regular "break in transmission" in broadcasting houses which sometimes last for weeks, resulting from knocked down spares and scarcity of spares, are not unusual. Solution: Acquire state of the art equipment and arrange for spare parts at the point of purchase. Recruit experienced professional engineers to man the equipment. It is important also to ensure compliance with the equipment manual during operation; overusing equipment (outside the prescription of the manufacturers) could lead to frequent breakdown, which reduce the life span of equipment. Government on its part should ensure that contractors supply the recommended equipment. Final payments to contractors should be made only after inspection and a period of (successful) test-transmission. 4. Poor Programming: In broadcasting, good programming is the major factor that determines audience preferences among competing radio and television channels; a radio or television station enjoys wider audience preference when it is able to design a programme schedule and quality of production that meet the tastes and expectations of the audiences within its radius of coverage. The problem of poor programming is more evident among television stations. Television culture in Nigeria remains poor as a result of poor programming. People are not attracted to watching television because our local television stations have little to offer. This has led to a situation where the average Nigerian prefers foreign cable satellite TV channels to our local stations. The consequence of this is that our society is getting more and more enmeshed in cultural intrusion of the Western World. Western values and violent tendencies are now the envy of our youth. Thus, for any meaningful reversal of preference for international television 37


stations, mainly Western satellite stations, among Nigerians, everything should be done to encourage interesting programming among local stations. Local contents should be encouraged and sustained. Thus, the problem of poor programming has been a major inhibition to government owned broadcasting stations in Nigeria. Solution: Encourage the programmes department of broadcasting stations to be very creative. The department should be properly equipped and funded. Programme exchange among stations should be encouraged. Stations should also come together, join resources and undertake joint production of good programmes. 5. Fraud: One of the major impediments to effective and profitable operation of public media houses is fraudulent practices among staff. This directly results from the so-called "Nigerian factor' an umbrella name for corrupt and sharp practices among some Nigerians. Indeed, a lot of revenue generated daily in government owned media houses end up in private pockets. This fraudulent practice is not peculiar to the top management level of some broadcasting houses alone, it also permeates intermediate and junior staff levels. This is usually done by way of giving excessive discounts and exceptional privileges to regular advertisers in cases of volume business brought in by such advertisers. A reasonable percentage of such "discount" end up in private pockets, usually in collaboration with the advertiser. Another way money is diverted to private pockets is the sharp practice among presenters, continuity announcers and commercial departments etc. whereby they slot in announcements into programmes they present, payments for which end up in their private pockets. For instance, there is the story of a presenter of an Igbo programme who was making so much money for himself by memorising obituary and other announcements which he slots in occasionally in course of his presentation. He collects the payments himself from the announcers and diverts the monies to his own pocket. He is so tactful about this that one hardly notices. His employers are thereby short-changed as he corners money meant for the broadcasting organisation to his private pocket. Consoles operators, especially in radio stations, are also involved in this unwholesome practice. Sometimes they air five or more slots of adverts that only two are receipted for, and get some compensation from the advertisers. SOLUTION: Ensure that the staff of broadcasting houses are well paid, and design accounting methods that plug holes through which the station is defrauded. A monitoring committee should also be set up. The committee should answer directly to the chief executive of the broadcasting house. Members of the committee should be periodically changed. The job of the monitoring committee will be to keep record of advertisements aired by the station daily. The committee should also monitor programmes to detect and report unauthorised adverts subtly built into 38


programmes by presenters. It may also be necessary to ensure that no member of the committee knows the other. Independent monitors (outside the employees of the station) may also be contracted to do this job. Unemployed housewives and the handicapped can perform this service very well, from their homes. 6. Frequent Changes of Management Staff: A broadcasting organisation requires some level of consistency in staff tenure, especially at the level of management. But government owned stations experience frequent changes of management. Though this problem of government-owned media houses results directly from the leadership crises of the larger Nigerian society. It is understandable that every successive government (federal and state levels) would want to be assured of the loyalty of its cabinet and the top management levels of its agencies and parastatals. However, there are other ways of ensuring loyalty among such levels of management without necessarily sacking such teams at every change of government, especially where such teams have performed creditably well in the past. Indeed, it is debatable whether outright sacking of management staff of key government agencies and parastals has been of any positive effect in guaranteeing loyalty and efficiency. If it were so, perhaps there would be no place for civil servants who retain their jobs inspite of changes of government. Yet they do not in anyway divert loyalty despite their individual political leanings. It may not be exaggerating to contend that much of the fraud at top management levels of some government establishments is inspired by job insecurity in such government employees; everybody wants to grab all he could before a new government comes sacking them. Frequent changes of management staff also has the implication of engendering inconsistencies in management policies and broad guidelines. Solution: Government should legislate and adopt the policy of retaining top management staff of broadcasting organisations they own, providing for at least five to ten years tenure for every such staff. Such management staff could be required to sign an undertaking to be loyal to every new dispensation. They may have the option to voluntarily resign. Government should be compelled by law to appoint General Managers or Chief Executives of government owned media houses from the management staff of the stations, according to hierarchy. They should not appoint from outside the stations and they should not jump the hierarchy of management staff. 7. Indebtedness: One of the problems faced by government-owned media houses is high indebtedness by their major clients advertisers, and usually, advertising agencies. Usually, advertising agencies are given credit facilities with a pledge by them to pay within a given period. In practice, however, such pledges are hardly honoured. This has been the cause of loss of confidence by 39


some advertisers in their advertising agencies who collect money from their clients (advertisers) for adverts on the media and hold on to such money for considerably long. Sometimes the media houses are forced to blacklist such erring agencies. The practice of blacklisting advertising agencies as sanction to compel payment for services rendered (aired advertisements), eventually affect innocent advertisers. In some cases, however, some advertisers resort to what is known as Direct Media Purchase, which on its own poses some problems. (We shall discuss this subject in detail in Chapter Six of this book). Thus, media houses must address the problem of indebtedness and find a way of overcoming it if they must be self-sustaining and viable. Solution: Media houses must demand payment in advance for their services, at least a reasonable percentage of the total sum involved. They could also insist on periodic payments with a threat of non-performance in the event of default by the advertiser or the advertising agency. Most importantly, however, we wish to stress the need for advertisers and advertising agencies to recognise the immense reward of mutual trust and goodwill between them and media houses, for there to be a smooth and cordial relationship in the industry. Where an advertising agency defaults in payment, the broadcasting station owed should petition the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, and the Association of Advertising Professionals of Nigeria, AAPN. Where a corporate body (advertiser) defaults in payment, a petition should be lodged with Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN, or any professional or trade group that such a corporate body (advertiser) belongs. These regulatory bodies or pressure groups should at all times prevail on their members to imbibe the culture of fulfilling their promises, undertakings or obligations to media houses. Integrity, discipline and credibility should be cultivated by their members and should guide their business relationships. 8. Government Meddlesomeness: Efficient and viable media operation and management requires some level of creativity and measured adventure. Prolific conception of ideas and experimentation are necessary ingredients for efficient and effective media management. However, in government owned media houses, the over-politicization of the running of the media houses and government recurrent interference, have constituted serious clog in the wheel of smooth operations. Sample: in 1991, the idea was conceived and articulated, to set up an alternative television network programming in Nigeria that was to involve a private media outfit based in Lagos and a consultancy firm, both of the one part, and selected television stations located in different parts of the country, of the other. The idea was to prepackage and broadcast programmes from different television stations on the network, in a syndication arrangement. In view of the enormous capital which would ordinarily be required to run such a project, especially to buy airtime in each of these stations, the project was designed to run as a joint venture arrangement between the media outfit and the consultancy firm 40


on the one part and the selected government owned media houses, of the other. The television stations selected for the project were those considered to be strategically located to ensure wide coverage around the country, especially in areas that advertisers on the project considered their major markets. The highlight of the joint venture arrangement was to send pre-recorded programmes to the selected stations across the country and have the programmes telecast at the same time by all the stations on the network. It was to be mainly fifteen hours weekend broadcasting arrangement per station. The project was aimed at providing an answer to the lingering poor reception and sometimes nonreception, of network transmissions by stations on the only (government-run) television network in Nigeria, which for long had continued to enjoy the status of a monopoly. At that point in time, reception of network programmes across the country was really at a most unbearably low level. Advertisers therefore longed for an alternative network system. It must be noted, however, that the incidence of poor reception of television network (signals) by the different stations on the (only television) network across the country, is the result of the country's modest level of science and technology. What was required in the circumstances, was a network of programmes that could be pre-recorded in line with the expectations of prospective advertisers, and broadcast at source from the different stations at the same time. Advertisers felt short changed when they paid for network (nationwide) reach and got less than they bargained for. Thus, the Private Alternative Network was conceived. Under the arrangement, the private media organisation (and the consultancy outfit) were to provide programmes on the network. They were also to take care of the smooth running of the project in terms of logistics, sourcing for advertisers and sponsors for the programmes by getting them to utilize the network. On the other hand, the television stations were to provide (mainly) their airtime for the project. Revenue from the project was to be shared between the parties according to the value of their contributions. The stations selected for the network were then approached and negotiations commenced. Even where the management staff of the individual stations were convinced on the viability of the project, they still had the political angle to take care of; their respective government houses had to give consent to the project before the management staff would commit their stations. This was inspite of the fact that the project in question had immense prospects in revenue potentials which would have helped the governments of their respective states, at least to reduce the amount paid to stations as subventions. The "battle" to convince the respective state governments that own the television stations to approve the project in their state stations, was a long and grueling one. In most cases, they raised very petty issues. To some, the ethnic origin of the private media outfit and the consultancy firm was far more important than the revenue possibilities of the project. To others, selfish considerations of what goes to whom (private pockets) was top priority. For a few of them who could be said to be comparatively liberal and practical, it mattered more to them whether the logo of the private media outfit 41


would appear on the screen, which to them would amount to giving the private media outfit undue publicity. In the end, the project succeeded in some places and could not work in others. That was after over eighteen months of negotiations and avoidable expenses. Though the private media house eventually reneged on its obligations in the project (which contributed significantly to the failure of the project in the stations where the project successfully took off), our purpose here is to highlight the extent to which government meddlesomeness can work havoc on public media houses. Another species of this problem is a situation where state chief executives and their commissioners and top civil servants as well as political party chiefs, send in advertisements, announcements or programmes which are not paid for. How would the same government expect the stations to survive? Solution: Government should allow the management of public media houses some independence while ensuring, of course, that government interests are not in any way undermined. Creativity should be allowed to flow. 10. Oversized Infrastructure and Maintenance problems: A group of Nigerians, sometime ago, visited some broadcasting houses in the United States of America. They discovered, to their unbelief, that it takes a small space to establish and operate a radio or television station. In most of the stations they visited, they discovered that a small bungalow and even the service quarters of a building, can conveniently and effectively house a radio station. From what they knew of broadcasting houses in Nigeria, they had expected to see in the United States, the size of a whole village housing just a radio or television station. One wonders why government-owned broadcasting stations are as large as they are here. Much of the resources that could have been invested in better equipment and back-up facilities, are unduly expended on needlessly elaborate infrastructure. A top management staff of a sate government owned television station in Nigeria once boasted that his television station "is the biggest in Africa". And that is a station still battling with poor reception of its television signals in over sixty percent of its target coverage area! Solution: Rather than spend so much on infrastructure, state governments could find some space in their respective ministries of information to house their broadcasting stations. This will even help them to effectively monitor the stations, as senior directors of their respective information ministries would have easy access to the day-to-day-happenings (and running) of the stations. Moreover, the cost of maintaining infrastructure would be drastically reduced. What should be more important to government is effective and clear reception of their programmes (signals) by the target audiences. Engineering and architectural designs that maximise space should be encouraged and adopted. CONCLUSION: Government has to make a choice between purely commercial broadcast media 42


with purely profit motives, and public financed, public/ government service broadcasting. If government chooses to go fully public service, it either has to finance the stations solely through subventions, or it could charge broadcast license fees on every radio and television receiver (set) within its jurisdiction. That way, it would rely less on advertising and hopefully put a stop to the practice of threatening its stations with withdrawal of subventions if they failed to make profit. The alternative of charging broadcast license fees on radio and television sets in the society is made less attractive by the fact that Nigerians have in recent years grown increasingly resentful of more taxation. There is also the difficulty of having reliable set count of radio and television sets in the society. Some state governments have in the past adopted the policy of charging license fees on sets, but it has never worked. Perhaps one effective way of going about it is to somehow "scramble" the reception of state owned radio and TV stations, by operating a system similar to that used by pay cable satellite television retransmission stations. Under this method, a central computerized system will be operated from the respective radio and television stations in which only sets with a kind of decoder would be able to receive radio and television signals from these stations. Owners of radio and television sets would then be compelled to pay their subscription (license fees) to be able to receive signals. Those who fail to pay would not receive. Every set would be accompanied with a decoder which set owners would also pay for. The problem with this arrangement however, is that it will result in further estranged populace whose access to local news, information and indigenous cultural entertainment may be reduced if not completely cut-off. Another likely problem with charging radio and television sets license fees is the possible resistance the policy may face from private radio and television stations within the same coverage areas with the government broadcast stations who may demand that they also share in the revenue generated from the license fees. Infact, all broadcast stations (government and private) should share the radio and television fees collected in any state where private stations also exist. The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate that government owned media houses could be better effectively and efficiently managed, and that they could generate substantial revenue, and save government huge resources which it pays by way of subventions to public broadcast media. This chapter also opens the eyes of prospective investors in private broadcasting in Nigeria to problems they may likely encounter. We have endeavoured to provide solutions to such likely problems. It is hoped that knowledge of the problems faced by government-owned media houses and the solutions we have proffered to overcome the problems, will help all public broadcasting houses to sit up. It is also hoped that these exposed problems and suggested solutions to them, will guide state governments who wish to establish new broadcasting stations, as well as prospective investors in private broadcast media, in confronting such problems ab initio, and consequently enjoy a smooth operation of their stations, while reaping substantial profits from their 43


investment in broadcasting. 1.

REFERENCES Quote from a Brazilian newspaper criticizing the educational broadcast policy and approach of the Brazilian government in early 70s. Quote culled from Broadcasting in the Third World: Promise and performance, Elihu Katz & George Weddel. See also Ibid, pages 123-124 on the Nigerian experiment in educational broadcasting.

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CHAPTER THREE THE IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT-PRESS RELATIONS ON PRIVATE BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA. "Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled in your children, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political and religious rights" an anonymous 18th Century Pamphleteer. In a policy statement that marked a turning point in the history of broadcasting in Nigeria, the Babangida administration, on the 24th day of August, 1992, signed into law, the National Broadcasting Commission Decree Number 38 of 1992. Though commentators contend that the move was long overdue, it was, nonetheless, a watershed, a commendable and remarkable event in the life of that administration and indeed in the history of Nigeria allowing private organisations to invest in that sector of the economy. Expectations were high and Nigerians looked forward to the excitement in the entertainment sector that that remarkable event forebode. The move sparked speculations among observers , about government sincerity; allowing the entrance of the broadcast media into the private domain, bearing in mind that the government in question was a military dictatorship. The administration was later to put all speculations to rest when, in June 1993, it issued the first batch of licenses comprising thirteen licensees for private television operation, and a larger number of licenses for cable/satellite retransmission stations. The delay in the liberalization of the broadcast media in Nigeria can be traced directly to fears entertained by successive administrations, of the likelihood of abuse of the broadcast media by licensed operators who might be tempted to use the media for self-serving purposes detrimental to national interest. In fairness to government, one appreciates such fears of abuse by mischievous prospective operators of private broadcast media. We shall, below, examine the basis of these fears and attempt to proffer ways of allaying them. It appears that government fears of leaving the all-powerful broadcast media in private hands, over the years, is informed mainly by its bitter experience with a section of the print media in Nigeria. Government has had not a few clashes with the print media in the past which sometimes resulted in the proscription of some media houses. An objective historical assessment of the conduct of the print media in Nigeria reveals that while some of them have performed quite creditably and remarkably (without necessarily being pro-establishment), a section of the Nigerian press has over the years behaved irresponsibly, undermining the ethics of 45


the journalism profession in the process. Indeed, a section of the Nigerian press sometimes notoriously indulges in what can be termed "fiction journalism", another species of which is often called "junk journalism". The practice, at times, is for certain Editorial Boards to dream up stories (always "confirmed" by the ubiquitous "reliable sources") based on what the ever aggrieved masses would want to hear, and present same in a way that gullible members of society cannot but believe the story. Even where certain stories are true, they are seriously embellished by these highly imaginative editorial boards (whose incredible talents in fiction writing could win grand international awards) and stylishly presented to the unsuspecting members of the public. And the headlines scream of foul deals in high places, of oppression and deprivation, and of hidden agenda in government circles. The purpose is to cause disaffection in certain quarters and to generate hatred against the target personalities and institutions. Why do people believe these stories? Norman Moss in his book The Pleasures of Deception,1 provides an answer: "We see half of a familiar picture, and assume that the rest is there. We accept it just because we read it in the newspapers, or see it on television. Sometimes we accept a thing as true because it is something we want to be true: that there is a genuine scheme to get rich quick. We are fooled, sometimes, because we give way to social pressures rather than trusting our own powers." There are two possible motivations for the irresponsible conduct and mischief of a section of the Nigerian press. On the one hand is political motivation, where the Editorial Board plays piper to its politician proprietor - financier who calls the tune. Such newspapers are usually instruments which the politician proprietor financier uses to achieve his selfish political objectives. The views of the politician proprietor become the hallowed ideal while any proffered alternatives different from the proprietor's ideals, ideas and agenda, are ignored and trashed. There have been repeated accusations of tribalistic journalism against a section of the Nigerian press. This, critics say, is evident in the practice among this section of the press, of identifying with their tribal brethren or kinsmen in the event of political disputes. Usually, these newspapers resort to unethical practices of bitter castigations and virulent attacks on the opposing group. Another suggested major motivation for the irresponsibility of a section of the Nigerian press is commercial considerations; unsuspecting members of the public buy up newspapers with very sensational headlines. And they believe the stories hook-line-and-sinker. Thus, sensationalism has commercial rewards. The target victims of such sensational stories are usually highly respected personalities in society whose reputation are battered by such publications. Of course, there are available channels for redress which include our courts, though this, in the Nigerian context, usually takes a long time. And such aggrieved personalities are discouraged from going to court to seek redress as they have 46


their highly demanding private businesses or public engagements to attend to. Experience has shown that the average Nigerian readily believes most stories that put the reputation of our respected and accomplished personalities in doubt. There is, perhaps, a psychological explanation for this tendency. In our opinion this attitude results from deep seated cynicism cultivated by Nigerians over the years, borne of persistent mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds by those entrusted with the public treasury. Thus, the predominant view is that most rich people in our society got where they are by foul means. This thinking is unhealthy for an aspiring capitalist economy as ours, where people must be seen to have achieved success through hardwork which would motivate others to aspire to legitimate success and greatness. The truth is that most of the rich in our society got where they are by dint of hardwork. Perhaps in the Nigerian context susceptibility to vexatious and damaging publications has become an occupational hazard for all public officials and celebrities. Time has come for Nigerians to redefine heroism. A wrong sense of heroism pervades the Nigerian landscape. And we should be alarmed at this trend. A hero, by the present Nigerian definition, is a person who confronts and insults constituted authorities, be it the Federal, State or Local Governments; the traditional institution, religious leaders, and indeed the successful in society anybody with some integrity, who is perceived to wield some kind of power or authority of whatever nature. The goal is to embarrass and to blackmail. The would be "hero" picks his victim, takes considerable time plotting, scheming and contriving. He wakes up one morning, perfects his plan and raps his victim through any medium that best suits his purpose usually soft sell newspapers who would gladly publish him. From the onset, the 'hero" knows that his unfortunate victim, in a desperate effort to preserve and protect his well earned reputation and integrity, will respond with all legitimate resources and channels available to him. The "hero" prepared himself for his victim's wrath. And true to his expectation, the victim, unfairly hurt, fires the embers of justice in search of redress. The "hero" is taken to court. Then the unsuspecting press, increasingly becoming unconscious (or is it by design?) accomplices in despicable mudslinging of epic proportions, of cheap blackmail and unfair embarrassments, comes to the rescue of the "hero". And the headlines scream of untold injustice and oppression. Unsuspecting human rights groups take over from there. Injunctions roll out of our increasingly "protective" and 'humane" courts, compelling the victim to let go of the "hero". And Nigerians, ever in solidarity with the weak party, shout foul. Everybody is united against the poor victim. Then the "hero" wears his full garb of heroism. "Welldone", he congratulates himself. What next? Contest an elective position immediately, while his heroism lasts, and reap some harvest in form of electoral votes, get some position of power; or, where that is not possible (you need some money to get elected anyway), the "hero" becomes a self appointed critic of government and the status quo, a "defender of the weak, the 47


oppressed and exploited masses". And the beat goes on. Five days of the week in detention, the other two with pressmen. Interviews are granted by the media who scramble for the "hero's" opinion on every national issue. And the "hero" becomes a celebrated national issue in his own right, a "democrat" whose views are accorded full weight. And the press makes big sales from the 'hero's" interviews and pronouncements. The masses are daily reminded of how much the 'hero" loves them. And the "hero's" windfall knows no limits. Nigerians should learn to hear the other party. Hurried judgments of this nature would appear to suggest that success is a crime in our society. Capitalism which is supposedly our official ideology can only shine in an environment where success and the desire to achieve great heights by legitimate means are hallowed individual and national aspirations. Crucifying successful people and leaders is directly detrimental to individual and collective development and fulfillment. Our intention here, it must be emphasized, is not to hold brief for certain wrongs in government circles, or by privileged members of society. We are not suggesting that the media should be singing praise songs for government when the nation is on fire. No. Certainly, there is a need to expose immorality, falsehood and fraud in high and low places whenever and wherever they occur. True, the press, being the Forth Estate of the Realm, must live up to its responsibilities to society, which is mainly to function as the watchdog of society. The press must mediate in the market place of ideas where every position fights for recognition and adoption. The press must ensure reasonable balance and fairness in presenting all shades of opinion and allow the people to judge. The press moulds, shapes and reshapes public opinion and the ideals of society in line with universally accepted values. Indeed, the press has the responsibility and the potentials to foster the emergence of a sane and progressive national and world order by setting social, political and economic agenda. In performing this role, however, the press must be on its guard. It must not allow itself to be willing "area boys", hatchet men or mercenaries in the hands of mischief makers. Every journalist owes it to his profession and to his country to work within the confines of his professional ethics. Facts and the truth must guide every publication. This demands painstaking verification of stories before going to press. Nothing short of this will suffice. The press must uphold transparency, accountability and good governance. It must exercise considerable self restraint in reporting touchy issues that could compromise national security. A situation where we wash our dirty linings before the whole world is in itself detrimental to our collective interests. The Nigerian Press Council, the Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, and the Guild of Editors must exercise more control and sanctions on erring members of their trade. Journalists who engage in unethical practices and by so doing give a bad name to this noble profession should be held responsible and accountable for their bad behaviour. In this group 48


of black sheep of the profession are those who engage in blackmail, rumour mongering, distasteful and false publications and other varieties of unethical conduct. These are the elements that must be flushed out of the profession. The press should help to correct biased and stereotyped news and opinions on Africa, not to reinforce them. CONDITIONS FOR PRESS FREEDOM 2 Freedom Forum, a United States based non-governmental organisation has articulated four fundamental conditions essential to the existence of a free press, namely: 1. 2. 3. 4.

There must be a constitutional guarantee There must be an independent judiciary willing to interpret the constitution in the way it was intended There must be an informed and committed citizenry that supports a free press and knows why its existence is essential, and There must be a press that is willing to sacrifice and is committed to the idea of a free press, because they understand that a democracy will not stand without it.

We shall examine to what extent these essential conditions exist in Nigeria. 1. Constitutional Guarantee: Section 36 of the 1979 constitution (section 39(1) of the 1999 constitution) provides inter alia; "Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference". Though freedom of the press appears to be guaranteed under this section, we believe that it is not couched in terms strong enough as to prevent interference by a strong executive or legislative arm. We believe that the American equivalent, the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which holds that Congress shall make no laws that abridge freedom of speech and of the press, is preferable as it forbids any act aimed at restricting or limiting the freedom of the press. Such pre-emptive provision against any meddling with the freedom of the press is, indeed, desirable if not imperative. Section 36 (2) of the 1979 Constitution (section 39(2) of the 1999 constitution) provides that: "‌‌ every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions: provided that no person, other than the Government of the Federation or of a State or any other person or body authorised by the President, shall own, establish or operate a television or wireless broadcasting station for any purpose whatsoever". 49


Thus, while the print media enjoy less regulation (in Nigeria newspaper publishers are required to be licensed through the process of certification of newspapers, a process that is less rigorous than the licensing of private electronic media) under the constitution, the electronic media radio and television-were not entirely deregulated, as private ownership of the electronic media (radio and television stations) must have the approval of the President Commander In-Chief himself. Indeed, it was only in 1992 that the electronic media was liberalized in actual practice. It is remarkable that the privatization or liberalization of the electronic media in Nigeria happened under a military regime even though the constitution under which the Second Republic operated empowered the President to grant private broadcasting licenses. From the foregoing, it can be seen that only a limited constitutional guarantee exists for press freedom in Nigeria. There is therefore a compelling need for a review of the constitution to adequately guarantee unfettered press freedom in Nigeria. 2. There must be an independent judiciary willing to interpret the constitution in the way it was intended:- Section 6 of the 1979 Constitution (section 6 of the 1999 constitution) established the powers of the judiciary in Nigeria. Except in military dictatorships where there have been repeated interference with the judicial process and by extension the independence of the judiciary through such instruments as ouster clauses which prohibit courts from entertaining any matters related to a Decree, the judiciary in Nigeria has enjoyed relative independence. The very essence and character of ouster clauses are infact repugnant to the independence of the judiciary and thus to the principles of justice and rule of law. Ouster clauses merely serve to immunize the actions of the military government, making it unaccountable to its own Decrees and often to important constitutional standards. Ouster clases are a species of executive lawlessness which numerous ramifications include government or government agencies and officials refusing to comply with court orders, including orders by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, taking actions that are fundamentally illegal and proceeding later to legalize them retroactively, and sometimes taking actions that have no basis in law whatsoever. Indeed, executive lawlessness, ouster clauses and other varieties of arbitrary actions by military dictatorships are injurious to the rule of law and undermine public confidence in the government, the law and the administration of justice. Civilized societies are based on the rule of law. The rule of law pre-supposes the obedience of the law by all, without regards to position, power, influence, class or other social stratifications. Thus the law must enjoy the confidence of the citizens. But confidence is lost when right minded law abiding citizens have cause to believe that the law is biased or that there are different laws for the rulers and another set of laws for the ruled. Such societies soon plunge into the Hobesian type where life is "nasty, brutish and short". Thus, a society without a strong rule of law and an independent judiciary cannot have a 50


viable, vibrant and vigorous press. The rule of law must guide both governance and followership. The principles of good governance emphasize not only acting for the public welfare but also acting lawfully within the scope of one's authority. Thus, no government, government official, agency etc should be above the law. It is obvious that where the rule of law is absent press freedom suffers. Indeed, the integrity of a legal system can to a large extent be measured or determined by the degree of press freedom prevalent in that system. Under military dictatorships in Nigeria, the press has suffered repeated intimidation, suppression and proscriptions, made possible by the arbitrary and reckless use of power by military dictators. And the courts have had their hands tied with ouster clauses. Where the courts have dared by judicial activism to challenge arbitrary use of power by military dictators and their agents, the latter have repeatedly, blatantly refused to obey court orders. The following observations of eminent jurists are worthy of note: "The rule of law knows no fear, it is never cowered down; it can only be silenced. But once it is not silenced by the only arm that can silence it, it must be accepted in full confidence to be able to justify its existence" - Justice Kayode Eso in Saidu Garba V. The Attorney General of the Federation (1988) INWLR 449 S. C. "I can safely say that here in Nigeria even under a Military Government, the law is no respecter of persons, principalities, governments or powers and that the courts stand between the citizens and the government, alert to see that the state or government is bound by the law and respects the law" Justice Chukwudifu Oputa in Governor of Lagos State V. Ojukwu (1986) INWLR 621 (part 18). In the same case above, Justice Andrews Obaseki noted: "Nigeria, being one of the countries in the world even in the Third World which proclaims loudly to follow the rule of law, there is no room for the rule of self help by force to operate. Once a dispute has arisen between a person and the government or authority and the dispute has been brought before the court, thereby invoking the judicial powers of the state, it is the duty of the government to allow the law to take its course or allow the legal and judicial process to run its full course ‌. The courts expect the utmost respect of the law from the government itself which rules by the law". "I know no duty of the court which it is more important to observe, and no powers of the court which it is more important to enforce, than its power of keeping public officials and public bodies within their rights. The moment public bodies exceed their rights they do so to the injury and oppression of private individuals and those persons are entitled to be protected from injury arising from such operations of public bodies"

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Lindley M. R. in Roberts V. Gwerfai District Council (1899) L. R. 2 Ch. D. 614. Since the independence of the judiciary is entrench in the constitution, it is left to the courts to uphold it, to refuse to yield an inch of it, to be a bastion against its violation, and to decline to compromise it. That way, individual and corporate rights, including that of the press, will be shielded from the ravages of oppression, suppression, and arbitrariness. Under a democratic government only the courts themselves can erect limitations to their own freedom. 3. There must be an informed and committed citizenry that supports a free press and knows why its existence is essential: Although the battle against illiteracy in Nigeria is gaining some ground, the fact remains that a high proportion of Nigerians are still illiterate. History attests to the fact that an enlightened citizenry is a lethal threat to dictatorships. Thus countries with a predominantly literate citizenry are almost immune to the abuse of power. Indeed, democracy thrives better in highly literate societies. In Nigeria, however, owing to the high degree of illiteracy, the army of enlightened citizens that understands, that is committed, and that supports a free press, is insufficient. The result is that military dictators have, over the years, trampled upon the press with impunity. It is on record that Nigeria's political independence was made possible by the commitment and struggle of enlightened Nigerians in the cities, who had the privilege of some education. It is also remarkable that the press played a leading role in the achievement of that historic victory. The press provided the much needed theoretical and philosophical foundation upon which the struggle was based. It articulated the struggle and went further to mobilize the citizenry for mass action which eventually culminated in independence. However, it must be noted that even uneducated citizens played very vital roles in the achievement of political independence for Nigeria. They were known to have supported the enlightened elite in the struggle. Thus an educated, informed and enlightened citizenry may not be a pre-eminent condition that must exist for press freedom to flourish, though education and enlightenment enhance commitment. In our considered opinion, one of the most remarkable landmark events in the history of social, political and economic consciousness of Nigerians was the establishment of the Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Recovery, MAMSER, under the Babangida administration. MAMSER'S public enlightenment campaigns yielded enormous dividends for the citizenry (though this may not have been the intention of that administration); Nigerians woke up to their rights which they had over the years slumbered upon. The people became politically, socially and economically aware as never before in the history of Nigeria. Minority groups rose up to assert their rights and to demand their legitimate entitlements. The masses mobilised in mass actions to protest the arrest and detention of the opposition. And in cases where the press was victimized, the people protested 52


even in the face of intimidating military might. Indeed, Nigeria has never been the same again since MAMSER. The people are now politically conscious. Awareness has spread to all fronts and on all matters. In the market place, at social gatherings, even among the illiterate, what used to be issues considered to be in the exclusive domain of the elite and the educated, have gained access even to the circles of the "un-informed". It is hoped that this will continue to gain momentum for, socio-political consciousness is imperative to the emergence of true democracy. Nigerians should all know the importance of free press in Nigeria and should be willing and ready to support it and to defend it. The press is the people's bulwark against the assaults of a rampaging dictator. 4. There must be a press that is willing to sacrifice and is committed to the idea of a free press, because they understand that a democracy will not stand without it: Is the press in Nigeria willing to sacrifice? Is it committed to the idea of a free press? Do journalism practitioners in Nigeria understand that a democracy will not stand without them? At no other time in the annals of the history of Nigeria has the commitment of the press been tested as in military dictatorships. Indeed, since the Buhari-Idiagbon regime, through the Babangida and Abacha administrations, the Nigerian press has been repeatedly battered and brutalized. Journalists have been imprisoned. Some have died while some others have suffered permanent physical and material losses. On several occasions, media houses were proscribed. Yet even in the midst of all these, the press in Nigeria refused to be cowered. Ingenious strategies of survival were adopted; in some cases some publications engaged in guerilla operations in which very efficient security operatives were unable to stop publications, nor were they able to limit distribution or impound them at source. The more the press was intimidated and suppressed, the bolder and the more daring they became. Incarceration, torture, proscriptions and indeed nothing could silence the press. Would this spirit be sustained under democracy? Or would the press in Nigeria suffer battle fatigue and lapse into atavistic ailments which it suffered under the First and Second Republics in which the press became party organs and reneged on its duty as society's watchdog? Indeed, when the history of Nigeria's permanent transition to democracy will be written, perhaps it would be known that there were no better heroes than the press and its practitioners, and perhaps some civil rights activists and courageous citizens who sacrificed all they had (some even paid the supreme price) in the collective interest of the nation. It is clear, from the foregoing, that the essential conditions necessary for the existence of a free press do not entirely exist in Nigeria though they do exist in substantial proportions; there is a limited constitutional guarantee; there is a partially independent judiciary which must now utilize judicial activism to challenge any incursions on its freedom and to interpret the constitution in the way it was intended; Nigerians must maintain the current wave of political and social 53


consciousness blowing across the country. They should guard their right to access to news and information and they should realize that any impediment to press freedom translates to an assault on their basic freedoms especially their right of free speech. The press in Nigeria are alive to their responsibilities but they should maintain their vitality and tempo and purge themselves of the unethical practices of some of their members who are not yielding the proper fruit. Indeed, of the four mentioned fundamental conditions above, necessary for the existence of a free press in any society, perhaps the fourth, which concerns the willingness of the press to sacrifice and to commit itself to the idea of its freedom, is the foremost condition prevalent in Nigeria. Lastly, it must be added as a fifth condition that democracy is the most essential condition for the existence of a free press. Some observers have expressed the view that the Nigerian press is vibrant and luxuriant in growth and expansion. They believe that the Nigerian press is one of the freest in the world. To this school of thought, inspite of the recurrent unfortunate incidence of proscriptions of some media houses even during the worst dictatorship in Nigeria, the Nigerian press is far from gagged. In their perception, perhaps nowhere else in the world can the press publish the kind of materials found in the Nigerian print daily. Some of these arguments are well founded. During the political crisis of 1993, when the drums of war were agog in the nation, a section of the Nigerian press took matters into its hands. It engaged in smear campaign against the leadership. It became partisan and thrived in falsehood, sensationalism, monumental ignorance and ethnic bigotry. Confoundedly caustic, vicious attacks on some personalities, mainly government functionaries, filled the pages of our newspapers. Cruel insults and abuse of prominent politicians became the pastime of certain publications. In one publication, a labour leader was referred to as one "whose teeth is fast decaying". What a decadence! In a situation that demanded the calming of frayed nerves, a section of the Nigerian press was busy, fanning the embers of violence and civil turbulence. Caution was thrown to the winds and violence was being celebrated as if war is a love carnival. Journalism's ethical norms of objectivity, neutrality, truth and balance were ignored and bastardized. It was indeed a disturbing situation and it became obvious that a section of the press had taken sides in a conflict with a national dimension which it reduced to the pathetic levels of ethnic dispute. Many wondered whether mass media bashing was a solution to the problems that ailed Nigeria then. But for Divine grace, the story would have been a gory one in which everyone would have been a loser. With the benefit of hindsight, however, the nation is now aware that what was going on was not a tribal conflict but the machinations of desperate politicians, on both sides of the dispute, who by no means merit the compliment of patriots.

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The press should not mistake freedom for a license to destroy. Freedom carries with it responsibilities, and demands some measure of self restraint. To do otherwise smacks of unparalleled irresponsibility and abuse of privilege and trust which the society has so generously indulged the press. WHAT THEORY OF PRESS OPERATES IN NIGERIA? 3

John Bittner identifies four theories that have characterised the operation of the press in society. According to Bittner, the political structure of a country can influence not only the regulatory and operational framework of the electronic media, but it can also affect the news media, both print and electronic4. The four theories Bittner identifies are: 1. 2. 3. 4.

The Authoritarian Theory The Libertarian Theory The Social Responsibility Theory, and The Soviet Communist Theory

1. The Authoritarian Theory: This is the oldest of the four theories. The Authoritarian Theory dates back to the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. This theory views humans as subservient to the State and as instruments of the State's natural, if not divine right to maintain order and further the State's existence. The press in such a society is viewed as an instrument for disseminating the State's position to the populace and educating and informing the populace on what is right and wrong based on the State's interpretations of issues, and providing official policy statements of the ruling elite. The State, after determining its objectives, uses the press as a means of obtaining and achieving such objectives. "The press becomes a means to an end rather than an instrument of criticism of either means or ends. The press is used as an instrument for helping the state achieve its ends". The Authoritarian System controlled the press through licensing. The State also used censorship to control the press; all publications must obtain official permit. Prosecution was also used to control the press through Treason and Sedition laws. Sometimes Authoritarian systems employed such methods as bribery where publishers are induced to publish only what the State wanted. In some cases the State employed taxation and subvention methods to ensure that only governmentfriendly media survived, and would sometimes establish State-owned media to publish only what it wants. Some philosophers of the Authoritarian school include Thomas Hobbes, Machiavelli "the end justifies the means", George Hegel and Plato. LIBERTARIAN THEORY This theory developed slowly in the Seventeenth Century and was refined in the 55


Eighteenth Century. It was at a time when nations embraced Libertarian principles in their constitutional framework. A Libertarian press is the exact opposite of an Authoritarian press. Under the libertarian theory, the individual is placed above the State, not below it. It views humans as rational beings who can be trusted to collectively arrive at the best decision for the general welfare and good of society, though humans may be imperfect as individuals. Four eminent philosophers are credited with the articulation of this theory and its transition from authoritarianism: John Milton (in the Seventeenth Century), John Erskine and Thomas Jefferson in the Eighteenth Century, and John Stuart Mill in the Nineteenth Century, and also Thomas Payne and John Locke. According to Milton, people had the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and good and bad. Therefore, they should have "unlimited access to the ideas and thoughts of other men", to enable them make decisions. Erskine argued that people seeking to enlighten others, not with the intention of misleading them, should be able to address the universal reason of a whole nation on what is believed to be true. John Stuart Mill was of the opinion that people had the right to think and act as they pleased so long as they did not infringe on the rights of others. Jefferson, borrowing from Milton's ideas, believed that the collective aggregate of a people, if intelligent and informed, could arrive at sound decisions. The press was the instrument to inform the people and therefore should be free of control. Eventually, libertarianism, with its freedom of the press, became part of the 5 constitutional doctrine both in the United States and later in England . Many nations of the world have also embraced Libertarianism in their constitutions. The emergence of the Libertarian System was made possible by certain factors which include political revolution in the USA, England and France, the Renaissance period, Age of Enlightenment and Reformation, economic development in the USA and Europe, and the rise of capitalism orchestrated by philosophers like Adam Smith. SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY THEORY This theory recognises the right of the Press to criticize government and institutions but demands also that the press should recognise certain basic responsibilities to maintain the stability of society, especially national security, peace and order. The press is expected under this theory to conduct itself with a sense of responsibility and ensure that it does not pursue profits at the expense of public service, even while maintaining its commercial independence from government control. It must be free to criticise but must operate under certain ethical code of conduct and government regulation that would not inhibit its constructive freedom. SOVIET COMMUNIST THEORY Under this theory mass communication is considered an instrument of the State, an 56


instrument of unity and of revelation to provide enlightenment and to prepare the masses for unity and eventually revolution. The press under this system is an "agitator, propagandist, and organizer". It aims at informing the public not so much to serve it. The medium is important to the State because of the large numbers of people that it can reach. In Nigeria, during military dictatorships the authoritarian theory appears to have been adopted as successive military dictatorships viewed the press as an instrument for disseminating the government's position to the populace; they expected the press to surrender themselves to be used to achieve the ends of the military government and not to be critical or dissent from the opinion and objective of government. Under democratic dispensations, the Nigerian press appears to be Libertarian in practice and regulation. It is perhaps correct to say that the regulatory framework of the NBC and its code, as well as the system of registration of newspapers in Nigeria under a democratic system, suggest a mix of the Libertarian and Social Responsibility theory. Thus, while the press (including the electronic media) is free in Nigeria to criticize government and its agencies and officials, it is expected to do so with a sense of responsibility - without jeopardizing national security, interest, peace and order. THE DEVELOPMENT THEORY This theory appears to have emerged in the second half of the Twentieth Century. This theory recognizes the peculiar problems faced by Third World countries in Africa and Asia; problems such as illiteracy, tribal and religious loyalties etc. In such an environment Libertarianism may create controversy and confrontation. According to the proponents of this theory, the press in such developing countries should highlight efforts at national development, speedy transformation of society, economic and social equality, mobilizing the people for economic, social and political development and improvements in living standards. The major pitfall of this theory is that government and its officials will be too willing to take advantage of it to draw attention to themselves and highlight their achievements to their political advantage. True, the events of an epoch in history ultimately determine the character, shape, structure, performance and content of its media. And journalism is the first draft of history. The first newspaper in Nigeria was established in Egbaland by Reverend Townsend in 1859. It was called "Iwe Irohin". Reverend Townsend's motivation for establishing the paper was, according to him, to get the people to read or to cultivate the habit of reading and seeking information.

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"Iwe Irohin was said to be very credible. It was a political newspaper exercising great restraint from colonial politics. It was a great critic of both the slave trade and the intra-tribal wars in Nigeria in the 1800s. Iwe Irohin advocated for morality 6 and continuous humanism" . The content of Iwe Irohin was a combination of religion and politics. Townsend used the paper to achieve political relevance in Egbaland and environs. In no time, the paper was involved in the political disputes of its environment, and sometimes took sides in such disputes, with the result that it soon assumed a controversial character. History records that Iwe Irohin's involvement in the local politics of Egbaland, eventually led to its loss of credibility. There were, however, no legal restrictions on the activities of the paper. Thus the Nigerian press was born free. However, it was from the very beginning, an instrument of politics, and was controversial in character. It may well be that the Nigerian press has kept faith with its hereditary and genetic character of controversy, and has functioned mainly as political organs in emulation of its pedigree. Successive newspapers of that era - spanning almost a century - were either official gramophones of the colonial administration, or were compelled to be so, as radicalism was not particularly lucrative, for the natives who would have patronised radical newspapers were mostly illiterates. Thus, to be in business, a newspaper had to be uncritical, if not supportive of the colonial government which could be relied upon for patronage. It was an unwritten rule of support for survival. By the 1930s, a new era of journalism was beginning to emerge in Nigeria. Western education was spreading, and the forces of nationalism were beginning to gather considerable momentum. The survival of any newspaper now depended on its degree of radicalism and political martyrdom. For literate natives only patronised newspapers with highly radical disposition. The press was becoming a potent stimulant of nationalistic consciousness and intense political activities, as they were all united in their struggle against colonial dictatorship. They strongly opposed racial injustice and were uncompromising in their singular resolve to crush colonial rule. In pursuit of their objective, they were bold, combative, provocative, controversial and radical. Indeed, it was, as someone rightly put it 'a press of protest"7. And they enjoyed the patronage and support of the people. It is therefore no surprise that a good number of Nigeria's founding fathers, such as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ernest Ikoli, among others, were recruited from the mould of journalists. The fact that print media, the first born of the mass communication family, was the major weapon used in the battle for the achievement of independence for Nigeria, lends credence to the thesis of Anne Rawley Saldich in her book Electronic Democracy that the media is the horror and waterloo of all dictatorships. According to Saldich: 58


" Until print was invented in the fifteenth century, there was a direct ratio between ignorance of the masses and their obedience. Knowledge is the fuel to civic disorder. Before printing enlarged and quickened the circulation of news, large scale rebellions were rare. With the Age of Enlightenment, knowledge was no longer the preserve of a privileged few, but rulers controlled printing's 8 subversive potentials by licensing printers in order to censor their work" Elsewhere, Saldich said that: "Communication systems always have been seed-beds of rebellion because they are vehicles for exchanging ideas, for conveying motives, creating desires, fostering hopes and expressing disenchantment. That is why print has a long history of censorship. Traditional religions and political leaders kept the masses ignorant for as long as they could, so that they would know little, want little, and obey without questions. There was always some holy of holies from which the people were excluded because their leaders knew that the dissemination of information stirs up expectations, unrest, demands, action, and the sharing of 9 power" Thus, but for the remarkable contributions of the press, Nigerian independence would have been long delayed. After independence in 1960, the radical tone of the Nigerian press somewhat mellowed. Attention was shifted from protest to the building of a national community. Protection of minority rights and securing constitutional guarantees for human rights also engaged the attention of the press. However, emerging political discord of the First Republic was to engender a partisan press. The intervention of the military in political governance, neo-colonial tendencies of emergent governments, corruption, bad governance, the feeling of disenchantment in certain quarters, moral decadence, political fraud and cruel injustice, brought with them atavistic manifestations in the press; there was a revival of the radical and controversial character of the nationalistic press of pre-independence Nigeria. This has mostly been in the privately-owned media. And people patronise more of privately-owned media with radical leaning, as they transfer credibility from government run media which they perceived to have increasingly assumed "mouth piece" status to government and its agencies. In response to the radical and controversial excesses of the private press, government has on several occasions resorted to high handedness which more often than not reinforces the combative, intransigent disposition of the press. The result has been serious adverse relationship cat and dog equivalent between government and the press, characterised by harassments, detentions, bannings and other forms of repressions. Provoked, the press responds with embarrassments, disinformation and virulent attacks on government and its agencies and officials. It was a period characterized by mutual suspicion and 59


recriminations. The history of press freedom appears to suggest that government repressions aimed at gagging the press almost always met with the determination of a radical press to resist repression. And eventually repressions collapsed. Successive governments always refined censorship systems or methods that tended to be increasingly civilized (though in military regimes very crude censorship methods appeared to be preferred), not by deliberate design to be benevolent or to accommodate new trends in liberation, but a self-preserving, selfish repositioning strategies meant to guarantee an effectual system of press control and censorship. However, press-repressive governments almost always ended up contributing unconsciously to the very thing they wanted to control, namely, the growth of a radical press with a mass audience. Thus the Nigerian press has unconsciously or inadvertently (or in self-defence) followed the Western media's approach to news reporting on Africa and the Third World, which, in perspective, is basically "conflict and catastrophe". In the process, the press has left the rest of us believing that everything is wrong about our leadership, our institutions and with us as a people. Much as this may be true to some extent, it does amount to an overkill to carry such sentiments to superlative dimensions. A people cannot take giant strides to progress with such bitter self condemnation. Indeed, much of the blame for the humiliation of Nigerians abroad can be attributed to our press, as it is also the making of bad governance, and the condemnable activities of some of our citizens. The press should realise that our print contents are not consumed in this country alone. They are read also in other parts of the world where the opinions and views of governments, institutions and people about us, matter to our survival and development. A foreigner who keenly followed news reports in our newspapers and magazines, and foreign broadcast media reports on Nigeria, once wondered whether Nigeria had become one big prison and a nation at war. He wondered whether Nigerians still moved around the streets freely. It is indeed unfortunate that a most promising country as Nigeria has become such a subject of ridicule and humiliation in the international community. All over the world, especially in the West, even in some African countries, Nigerians are treated with monumental disdain. Even our governments are sometimes treated as big institutions of fraud!! How can a nation with such negative image succeed in today's competitive and interdependent world where the reputation of a nation matters in international relations and trade. What is urgently needed now is to reshape the image of Nigeria in the international community. We must enlist the cooperation of our press in achieving this objective. We owe it to present and future generations of Nigerians to set things right. To conduct our affairs in such a manner as to suggest that we are worse off in the whole world is to be unfair to ourselves and to God Almighty who has, in His benevolence, so blessed Nigeria. Every nation has its fair share of crises and misfortunes, natural and man-made. Every nation has its own problems with its institutions, its governments, and its society generally. Crime is not peculiar to our society, nor is political crisis. We 60


have dwelt so much on our problems that we no longer see anything good in us. We need to rethink this attitude. And the media are best equipped to champion this national rebirth. While we usually sympathize and solidarize with the press each time government encroaches on its freedom, we have often been insensitive, if not (deliberately) blind, to press encroachments on the privacy of individuals, and even the tendency of the press to willfully damage the reputation of innocent individuals and institutions when it pleases. We have also remained impervious to press encroachment on government functions and secrecy. The observation of Rawley Saldich in this regard is instructive. Saldich said: "A nation's business cannot be done in public all the time. Journalists know this because they know that even their business cannot be done in public all the time. They are aware particularly of the need for secrecy to protect their sources of information and their files. Yet the press behaves as if government can function well only when journalists are present at the birth of policy or have access to information immediately, regardless of whether publicity is in the nation's interest. (Admittedly) national interest is a concept behind which governments everywhere hide many grievous misdeeds. Nonetheless, occasionally 'the fence of wisdom is silence' and the people's representatives should be allowed to 10 maintain silence without any automatic assumption of guilt" Yes, in governance there are things the public should not know. Thus we must condemn in the strongest possible terms journalistic mischief and arrogance of a section of the Nigerian press. At the same time, government must come to terms with the need for cordial relationship with the press. Government and the press must learn to tolerate and accommodate each other. The press and government should be partners in nation building. To view constructive criticism as subversive is wrong. As William Hatchen rightly observed: "The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state; but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public; to forbid this is to destroy the freedom of the press, but if he publishes what is improper, 11 mischievous or illegal, he must take the consequences of his own temerity" . Recurrent proscriptions of erring media houses and other forms of censorships are unhealthy to society. In the words of Madison: "Some degree of abuse is inseparable from proper use of everything; and in no instance is this more true than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided 61


by the practice of the States that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches to their luxurious growth than by pruning them away, to injure the vigour of those yielding the proper fruits"12 Government should also take the press into confidence at all times, especially at periods of crises. Most importantly, we believe that where there is accountability in governance, the press will search in vain for materials with which to harass, blackmail and embarrass government and its officials. Perhaps the most potent antidote to press mischief is good governance in a democratic setting. Thomass Jefferson, even when abused and insulted by the press of his time, never considered censorship as a viable alternative. Rather, he learnt to accommodate the excesses of the press. He once said: "No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, which we trust will end in establishing the fact that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found is the press"13 Elsewhere, Jefferson said: "I have lent myself willingly as the subject of a great experiment, which was to prove that an administration, conducting itself with integrity and common understanding, cannot be battered down, even by the falsehoods of a licentious press ‌. This experiment was wanting for the world to demonstrate the falsehood 14 of the pretext that freedom of the press is incompatible with orderly government" . An accomplished English Philosopher of the Libertarian school, John Stuart Mill once said: "The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of 15 truth, produced by its collision with error" . The erudite Justice Douglas also corroborates the necessity of press freedom in a democracy, when he said: "Free speech has occupied an exalted position because of the high service it has given our (American) society. Its protection is essential to the very existence of a democracy. The airing of ideas releases pressures which otherwise might become destructive. When ideas compete in the market for acceptance, full and free discussion exposes the false and they gain few adherents. Full and free discussion even of ideas we hate encourages the testing of our own prejudices 62


and preconceptions. Full and free discussion keeps a society from becoming stagnant and unprepared for the stresses and strains that work to tear civilizations apart. "Full and free discussion has indeed been the first article of our faith. (The United States). We have founded our political system on it. It has been the safeguard of every religious, political, philosophical, economic and racial group among us. We have counted on it to keep us from embracing what is cheap and false; we have trusted the common sense of our people to chose the doctrine true to our genius and to reject the rest. This has been the one single outstanding tenet that has made our institutions the symbol of freedom and equality. We have deemed it more costly to liberty to suppress a despised minority than to let them vent their spleen. We have above all else feared the political censor. We have wanted a land where our people can be exposed to all the diverse creeds and cultures of the world"16 It has been said that: "Although we elect public officials to conduct our government's business and give them power to make decisions controlling our lives, we do not let them exercise arbitrary power as leaders do in a dictatorship. They are restrained by the influence of public opinion, the very instrument that put them into office. This 17 public opinion is expressed primarily through the mass media" . And Ken Ward has observed that: "The modern world may be defined as the coming together of the industrial and political revolutions. The former provided the means for greater inequalities in society, the latter claimed the rights of all to be equal. Forms of mass communication were the sinews that bound the revolutions together, the nerves that produced the sense of meaning whereby individuals could understand the nature and character of the modern world. Channels of mass communications were the means whereby the contradictions in the growth of the centralised bureaucratic, industrialised state might be related to ideas of freedom and democracy. This was the fundamental dilemma of the modern world which could 18 only be solved through forms of mass communication." Harry Skonia has advised that: "those who note developing imbalances which jeopardize essential freedoms or the structure of democracy‌ have an obligation to point them out.‌ It is especially incumbent upon educators‌ who have no vested interest to 19 participate in necessary criticism and planning" Elsewhere Skonia said: "The long term goal for television and radio is not greater restriction, but greater freedom. The objective is the liberation of broadcasting from the chains, taboos, 63


and anachronistic practices which bind it, keeping it from realizing its full potential"20 Indeed, a government that intimidates the press and its practitioners violates democracy. In the words of the American theologian Reinhold Neibuh; "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary" Thus, a free press is imperative in a civilized, democratic society. It is wrong to suppress free speech. The minority should be allowed the opportunity to air their opinion and grievances. It is healthy for society. As John Stuart Mill observed: "If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person 21 than he if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind" Collectively, we should demonstrate to the world that things work here and that our country is not a jungle without laws. We must demonstrate this in words and in deeds. A situation where we parade our country before the world as terribly bad, irredeemable and without hope, is not in the interest of anybody. We only succeed in making ourselves the laughing stock of the world. Thus the press, our government, and indeed our citizens collectively, owe it to existing and future generations to redeem Nigeria's image in the international community. That is not to say that we should condone or accommodate fraud, indiscipline and wrong in society. What we are saying is that in upholding, protecting and preserving the principles and ideals of a sane and civilised society, we should take pride in ourselves and conduct our affairs in the best traditions of self-respecting people. In news reporting, analysis and commentary, we demand of the press the maximum standards of truthfulness and objectivity. Though the predominant contemporary view appears to be that absolute journalistic objectivity is probably neither attainable nor desirable. Expressing this sentiment, Elmer Davis observes that objectivity which was "a necessary and useful ideal in its day, has become carried so far that it leans over backward and often obscures the truth instead of revealing it"22. At least the press can, as Alfred E. Opubor has suggested, be comprehensive. In Opubor's words, to be comprehensive "involves considering the possibility of alternative sources or interpretations, and taking them into account, while not necessarily accepting them"23. The press should also avoid giving predominant attention to hard-line views in news reporting. Rather, in the event of crisis, prominence should be accorded more to moderate and reconciliatory views that advocate peace and calm. The press should worry that it is under fire everywhere; it has come under the 64


sledge hammer of politicians, governments, and even the people whose interests it always purports to serve. Rawley Saldich made the following uncomplimentary remark about the (U.S.) press: "The Press has arrogated to itself the task of being democracy's police officers, moral guardians and judges, when infact what it is is simply watch dog of society, self appointed mediators between government and people"24 Time Magazine, in its edition of June 5, 1964, at page 58 had these instructive admonition for the journalist! "The Code of a good journalist should be written in his heart. First, he must be true to himself. The man who is not true to himself is no journalist. He must show courage, independence and initiative. He must be no respecter of persons but able to deal with the highest and the lowest on the same basis which is regard for the public interest and a determination to get at the facts". It is time the press undertook self-reappraisal. It should begin to take steps at redeeming itself. One question that arises whenever the freedom of the press is in issue, is this: can the State, even in a democratic milieu, curb or suppress press freedom in whatever circumstances? Press freedom, like all other categories of freedom, is not without restrictions. The restrictions of press freedom can be located in two important respects; namely: 1.

Restrictions based on obscenity and libel laws. These are restrictions at the level of private individuals and organisations. Under this category, aggrieved private individuals have access to the courts to seek redress. 2. Restrictions based on threat to society collectively; In this category are sedition and treason. We shall dwell on the second category, being, usually, the subject of government / press conflicts. The courts have over the years affirmed the legitimate power of the State to curb press freedom where materials are published which have the potentials of posing a threat to society, under two principles; The Clear and Present Danger Test, developed by Justices Holmes and Brandeis; and, the Balancing Test. Under the clear and present danger test 'the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done ‌ The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils‌ It is a question of proximity and 25 degree" . Affirming this principle, Justice Brandeis said: "‌No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and 65


present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. "26 On the other hand, the Balancing Test, "Involves a balancing by the courts of the competing private and public 27 interests at stake in the particular circumstances shown" In Nigeria, Sedition is one of the offences under the general head of "offences against public order," in the Criminal Code (operative in the old Southern Nigeria and Lagos) and the Penal Code (operative since Independence in 1960, in the old Northern Nigeria). Under Section 51 (1) (c) of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to print, publish, sell, offer for sale, distribute or reproduce any seditious publication. Section 51(1) (d) of the Criminal Code provides that it is an offence to import seditious publications unless the importer has no reason to believe that the publication is seditious. Section 50 defines a seditious publication as a publication having a seditious intention. A seditious intention, by the provisions of section 50(2) (a) to (d), is an intention to: a. b.

c. d.

bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the person of the President, or of the Governor of a State, or Government of the Federation; or excite the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria to attempt to procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any other matter in Nigeria as by law established; or to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria; or to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population of Nigeria. Section 36(1) of the 1979 constitution (section 39(1) of the 1999 constitution) provides that: every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference‌"

Section 41 (1) of the 1979 constitution (section 39(3) of the 1999 constitution) provides that "nothing in section 36 shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health‌" 66


Are the provisions of section 50 of the Criminal Code inconsistent with the provisions of sections 36(1) and 41(1) of the 1979 constitution (sections 39(1) and 39(3) of the 1999 constitution), which would make the Criminal Code provisions in section 50 null and void, to the extent of its inconsistency with the constitution? 28

The Supreme Court of Nigeria, in DPP V. Chike Obi , rejected the contention that the sections of the Criminal Code under reference are inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution. The court held that: i. It is legitimate and constitutional by means of fair argument to discuss any grievance or to criticize any acts of government and their public policy; what is not permitted is to criticise the government in a malignant manner, for such attacks, by nature, tend to affect public peace. ii. That Truth is no defence to a charge of sedition, when the seditious intention is clear. In that same case, Chief Rotimi Williams, counsel to Dr. Chike Obi (as he then was) had argued that: "Any law which punishes a person for making a statement which brings a government into discredit or ridicule, or creates disaffection against the government irrespective of whether the statement is true or false and irrespective of any repercussion on public order or security, is not a law which is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society". (Emphasis supplied). FACTS OF THE CASE Dr. Chike Obi had published a pamphlet titled: "The people: Facts that you must know", in which he had written at page 3 of the pamphlet: "Down with the enemies of the people, the exploiters of the weak and oppressors of the poor!‌. The days of those who have enriched themselves at the expense of the poor are numbered. The common man in Nigeria can today no longer be fooled by street talk at the election time only to be exploited and treated like dirt after the booty of office had been shared among the politicians". The Supreme Court had to determine whether these words were seditious in character and whether section 50 of the Criminal Code were inconsistent with the constitution. Dr. Chike Obi was found guilty. In The Queen V. The Amalgamated Press of Nigeria Ltd. and Ibidapo Fatogun29, defendants were charged with publishing a seditious publication contrary to section 51(1) (c) of the Criminal Code. They were also charged with publishing 67


false news likely to cause fear and alarm, contrary to section 59 (1) of the Criminal Code. It was argued at the trial that in view of the provisions in the constitution of the Federation guaranteeing the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, the two sections of the Criminal Code under which the defendants were charged had become null and void as they were repugnant to the constitutional guarantees. The Supreme Court held that: a. Sections 1 and 24 of the constitution (the 1960 constitution - similar to section 36 and 41 of the 1979 constitution and section 39(1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution) of the Federation have not abrogated the law of sedition in Nigeria as contained in sections 50 and 51 of the Criminal Code, b. Section 24 of the constitution of the Federation guarantees nothing but ordered freedom and it cannot be used as a license to spread false news likely to cause fear and alarm to the public, and that therefore, section 59(1) of the Criminal Code has not been invalidated by that constitutional provision. To carry the provisions of the Criminal Code under reference too far, would amount to limiting or abridging the freedom of speech and of the press which are entrenched in the constitution, and would tend to give the impression that the law of sedition in Nigeria is meant to shield or immunize the government and its agencies and officials from criticism. Indeed, the law of sedition in Nigerian appears to transfer the blame for social and political discontent to the institutions of the mass media who are perceived to concentrate so much on and highlight the discontents, disappointments and aborted dreams and aspirations of the people. 30

In Tony Momoh V. Senate of the National Assembly , the court held that: "It is right that the courts should remember that their function is to decide whether a restriction is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society" Happily, section 50 (d), (i) to (iv) tends to protect the citizen excising his right to criticize government policy or acts which he may consider wrong or against public interest. The section states: "But an act, speech or publication is not seditious by reason only that it intends:i. to show that the President or the Governor of a state has been misled or mistaken in any measure in the Federation or a State as the case may be; or ii. to point out errors or defects in the Government or constitution of Nigeria, or any State thereof, as by law established or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of such errors or defects; or iii. to persuade the citizens or other inhabitants of Nigeria to attempt to 68


iv.

procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Nigeria as by law established; or to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters which are producing or have a tendency to produce feelings of ill-will and enmity between different classes of the population of Nigeria".

We believe that it would not amount to sedition where a publication criticises a policy of government which is perceived to be in error, mistaken, biased or illmotivated and capable of generating enmity among certain sections of the country, state or community, or where a publication opposes and criticizes an unbecoming conduct of a public official however highly placed. It is also, in our opinion, not seditious to publish a material that calls for the public to remove a government that is perceived to be incompetent or corrupt, by democratic means. Generally, however, the publisher or author of a material must choose his language carefully and ensure that while exercising his freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution, he does not jeopardize national security or endanger public order. Individual freedom, we believe, should give way where the collective interests of society are endangered, irrespective of the degree of endangerment. The State can also curb press freedom in war time or during national crisis. In war time, the State can mobilize the press for propaganda to inspire patriots and confound the enemy. In general, however, the press should always balance its journalistic and commercial interests on the one hand and collective national interest on the other. Thus, there are limitations to press freedom. As William Ernest Hocking rightly stated in his book, Freedom of the Press: A Framework of Principle,31 "The hermit is free to sing but not to sing in a chorus or opera". For those who would readily cite certain abused aspects of the contemporary American version of freedom whenever press censorship is in issue, they should reflect on the fact that freedom, the passion of every American, has been so abused in that society to the extent that what was a model, a constitutional and democratic masterpiece, a gift to the world; articulated and entrenched in the constitution by the founding fathers of America, has turned a rampaging monster. Freedom is eating up the very soul of America, its culture, its enduring values. Even the so-called friends of the press are cautions in their romance with the press. Whenever they dine with the press, they ensure they do so with a long spoon. Indeed, the predominant view is that those whom the press wants to destroy it first catapults to the Olympian heights of heroes or celebrities. Whenever sensationalism and mudslinging suits the press, even its best friends could be its victims and casualties. In this respect, Bernard Rubin has said, "the media that 32 creates personalities ... can destroy personalities" .

69


The Press should save the journalism profession in Nigeria further degeneration and degradation . Every journalist should reflect on the admonition of the US Catholic Conference 1971, pages 1,3 to 4: "The channels of social communication, even though they are addressed to individuals, reach and affect the whole of society. They inform a vast public about what goes on in the world and about contemporary attitudes and they do it swiftly. That is why they are indispensable to the smooth functioning of modern society, with its complex and ever changing needs, and the continual and often close consultation that it involves. This exactly coincides with the Christian conception of how men should live together. "These technical advances have the higher purpose of bringing men into closer contact with one another. By passing knowledge of their common fears and hopes they help men to solve them "These means, infact, help to build new relationships and to fashion a new language which permits men to know themselves better and to understand one another more easily. By this, men are led to a mutual understanding and shared ambition. And this in turn inclines them to justice and peace, to goodwill and active charity, to mutual help, to love and, in the end to communication. The tools of communication, then, provide some of the most effective means for cultivation of that charity among men which is at once the cause and the expression of fellowship. "All men of goodwill, then, are impelled to work together to ensure that the media of communication do in fact contribute to that pursuit of truth and speeding up of progress ‌ which is the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God". THE FEAR OF THE BROADCAST MEDIA, HOW JUSTIFIED? "Science begets humility. Its very discovery reveals more clearly the divine design of nature, the remarkable harmony in all things, from the infinitesimal to the infinite. But the mortar of brotherhood is not a product of the laboratory. It must come from the human heart and mind, and therein lies the crux of man's dilemma. He has not yet learned, as a social and economic creature, to keep step with his science. He is technologically mature, and a spiritual adolescent. Having conquered nature, he must now learn to conquer himself. The devices which science has given us are neither good nor evil in themselves. Their capacity for good or evil lies in the use we make of them. Thus, not in the laboratory, but in the human heart, in the realm of the Spirit, lies the challenge of the future" -Harold H. Martin, David Sarnoff's Vision, Saturday Evening Post. Feb. 16, 1963, pp 5659. From our foregoing analysis, one may find some justification for the fear which 70


successive governments of Nigeria have haboured; of the possible wrong use of the broadcast media which is far more powerful than the print media, especially in a society as ours where illiteracy is yet to be wiped out and where there is considerable intellectual laziness, even among our academia. That the broadcast media, like every other thing, has real potentials for wrong use by mischief makers in our midst, is not in doubt. We believe, however, that it is the duty of all concerned in the liberalization of the broadcast media government, prospective operators, observers, the general public etc, to recognize such potentials of possible abuse of the broadcast media and proffer ways of overcoming or avoiding them. 1. Private Broadcast Media and Tribalism: The electronic media are very powerful. They have constructive and destructive powers. They can shape public opinion, promote peace, correct wrong attitudes, and reshape wrong beliefs. On the other hand, the media are ready means of promoting ill-feelings, dis-affection, crisis and violence, when in the wrong, mischievous hands. And in the Nigerian context, the categories of possible abuse and mischief are never closed; they are infinitely wide and real. Tribalism remains a national problem and in situations of political disputes, history has shown that tribal sentiments are often allowed to take the front seat and predetermined primordial prejudices block reasoned discussion. We cannot therefore pretend that the electronic media cannot be used wrongly to promote discord, against national interest. SOLUTION: It is suggested that prospective organisations or individuals seeking to acquire license(s) to establish and operate private broadcast media houses should be compelled to ensure that their membership (Board and shareholders) enjoys wide national spread. In other words, the shareholders and directors of such organisations must be recruited from different parts of the country and the share-structure spread as evenly as possible among them. Such members, we suggest, should also belong to different religious groups - at least two religious groups. We believe that with such membership spread, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for any tribe or religion to use the media in a way that the larger national interest, peace and harmony are compromised or endangered. Government, through the National Broadcasting Commission, should adopt this policy and ensure that it is not circumvented. Broadcast managers should always ensure that editorial prejudices or bias influenced by the owner(s) opinions or beliefs do not find their way to the airwaves;. 2. How do we ensure that during political contests or elections, private broadcast media houses are not used by some contestants or groups to achieve undue political advantage to the detriment of others? With the benefit of hindsight, we know that some politicians, desperate for 71


political power, usually resort to using the media under their control to promote their selfish interests to the disadvantage of the opposition. During the Second Republic and the aborted Third Republic respectively, we all witnessed incidents of contrived "Media blackout" in varying degrees, on political opponents by some state government owned media houses. Media houses were converted to political organs purely serving the needs and interests of the party(ies) in control of the state governments. For instance, during the aborted Third Republic, the Chief Executive of a state in the South East, decreed that the state-owned media houses should desist from carrying any news material highlighting the activities, or in any way advantageous to the opposition and their officials. Infact, when the opposition political party came to the state in question for electoral campaigns preparatory to the presidential elections, nothing about their activities was reported in the state owned media, in keeping with the directive of the state Chief Executive. There was complete blackout on the activities and pronouncements of the opposition, thus denying the public its right to information and consequently of free choice. This is unfortunate. Political contests in a democratic setting demands the people's access to equal, balanced and unbiased information on the programmes and objectives of all registered political groups, contestants and even independent critics or candidates. If political power truly resides in the people, it follows that the people have the right to know whom they are voting for and what such contestants have to offer the electorates. They also have a right to know what the opposition is saying about the incumbent. Constructive criticisms by the opposition will guide the electorate in deciding whether the incumbent eventually deserves re-election or not. Thus, balanced media exposure of the activities of all political associations and viewpoints is imperative. The media are the primary source of information for the electorate. They must therefore provide unbiased, balanced information on all contestants and issues. News items highlighting criticism of the party in power by the opposition party must also receive adequate attention as should the activities and pronouncements of the incumbent party. It is by so doing that the incumbent party can be made to sit up and govern properly to the satisfaction of the people. Thus, the emergence of a better political culture in Nigeria can be made possible by a responsible media. Infact, it is a duty the media must religiously uphold. Possible abuse of media power should be checked. The right of the opposition party and indeed all political groups to equal media exposure must be recognised. It should be made illegal for anybody, institution or authority to seek to effect a "blackout" on recognised opposition groups. Happily, the NBC's sanctions, in the National Broadcasting Code, are available to deal with such situations. Even government owned media must be allowed a measure of independence and should be protected from abuse by self-serving Chief Executives of federal or state governments and their agents. Broadcasters must always remember their responsibilities to society dissemination of information, projection of indigenous culture, articulation and projection of positive values and 72


improvements in the living conditions of the people by ensuring accountability in governance etc. 3. Take a hypothetical case or scenario; There is an attempted coup whereby a group of individuals seeks to overthrow the government of the day by illegal (unconstitutional) means. Assuming the coup plotters succeeded in taking over a private or public radio or television station and asked all other stations to hook up with the station from where they are relaying their message. Assuming further that the coup plotters failed and some private media houses, afraid of reprisals in the event of the coup succeeding, had hooked up with the coup plotters; what becomes the fate of such hapless and helpless stations? What would be the likely reaction of the subsisting government which could not be overthrown? Supposing, on the other hand, that the coup succeeded and some private media houses had refused to hook up; would the successful coup plotters forming a new government not punish the unco-operating stations? In our peculiar circumstance where the future of our political system remains highly uncertain and unpredictable, where prevailing political crisis and the attitude and temperament of some of our contemporary political actors and shapers of our collective political destiny do not promise any reassuring hope, such a hypothetical case as above is not too far from possible. It becomes necessary therefore that we address the possibilities of such occurrence. (However we hope and pray that never again shall a dictatorship be foisted on our nation; that never again shall brutal force take the place of peaceful democratic succession; that never again shall our long-suffering people be made to bear the crushing weight of abuse, of repression, of oppression by military might. Never again! But our politicians must be determined to ensure that it never happens again by conducting themselves properly, by self-restraint and caution in whatever they do or say. They must play fair. Losers in political contests must learn to always congratulate winners, and winners should be modest in celebrating their victory and be accommodating to all .) In our opinion, operators of such stations should be insulated from reprisals irrespective of whichever side of the opposing groups the usurpers, or the government in power prevails in the end. Private stations especially, should be forgiven if they either refused to hook up with the usurpers and continued with their regular broadcasts, or closed down transmission pending the resolution of the crisis. After all, private broadcast media are huge investments of colossal capital. Investors therefore need to be protected from political vagaries of such proportions. They must not suffer from political conflicts that were not their making. Should the coup succeed and the emergent usurper-government attempt to punish the unco-operating media houses, the public should protest against it and compel the government to reverse its decision to punish. However, we believe that media houses can contrive equipment malfunction leading to a break 73


in transmission at the time the usurpers of power were making their announcements directing all stations to hook up with them. There is an engineering possibility in this respect which could be convincing on investigation. Perhaps it is important to make a pre-emptive appeal to future usurpers of power to show some understanding should private media houses fail to hook-up with them or claim inability to do so when such a directive was issued; that is, where the coup succeeded. On the other hand, the subsisting government (where the coup failed) should demonstrate some sympathy and understanding in the event that some media houses, in a hurried moment of panicky judgement, for fear of reprisals should the coup succeed, made a decision to hook-up, or were compelled by brute force to do so, by the usurpers. So long as the operators of the station are found, on investigation, to have no hand in the illegal act, it would be morally wrong to punish them. Investors should be saved the agony of unfair punishment in such circumstances. However, we hope that such a scenario will never arise!! 4. Information Control and Cable Satellite Television: One issue that has engaged the attention of some observers of the electronic media in Nigeria since its deregulation, is the necessity for information control; that is, given that the flow of information can be controlled and that there is a given necessity and desire to control information flow in a given circumstance. It is not in dispute that as a nation we tread a most uncertain political terrain. This, history can testify, is part of the birth-pangs of every nation's political development. Thus, ours is not a peculiar case in history without universal historical antecedents. In such a highly unpredictable and sometimes explosive political environment, the meddlesomeness of the "superpower media" of Western extraction, would be highly undesirable. Indeed, there have been several occasions when one wished that our society could do without the presentation, interpretation and characterisation of our political crises by the Western media which in most cases are deliberately exaggerated with obvious intention to aggravate an already explosive situation, or out of wrong judgment or ignorance. We remember vividly the incidence at the peak of Nigeria's political crises in 1993, when one of the major actors in the dispute was granted interviews by the Western media. In one of those interviews, the politician in question had threatened civil strife of unprecedented proportions if the dispute was not resolved in his favour. Obviously, such remarks are capable of triggering civil turmoil. It may be expedient sometimes to jam or censor such highly explosive transmissions in future, in the interest of the nation. This may sound outrageous to some people, but it is better to control highly explosive information that could trigger civil strife than to have the whole nation embroiled in bloody conflict. Indeed, every nation exercises some level of information control. Even the Governments of the Superpower nations also control the flow of certain information. Indeed, government has a duty to control certain information it considers to be highly 74


sensitive and explosive, which could also endanger the larger national interest and national security. It is in this respect that we shall look at Cable Satellite Networks and Cable/Satellite Redistribution operation in Nigeria. We need to control certain destructive information emanating from foreign media to our nation. So too is the need to check "cultural imperialism" of certain parts of the world, especially such foreign cultures that are capable of destroying the values and virtues of our indigenous culture. Some foreign entertainment materials expose our youth to highly unbecoming lifestyle, mostly of violent nature. It is in this respect that we suggest that government takes a new look at the ownership of direct satellite receiving dishes at homes. It is perhaps necessary for government to ban outright, ownership of such satellite dishes. Any individual who desires access to foreign media should be compelled to subscribe to the services of any of the licensed cable/satellite stations in his community. However, private individuals may be allowed to own dishes in communities where there are no cable satellite rebroadcasting stations. This would enable government to have effective control of information flow and better monitor our information consumption through private cable satellite stations which it could easily and more effectively control, being operated by organisations subject to government rules and regulations, through the instrumentality of government controlling regulatory agency - the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. The NBC's regional offices can effectively monitor these cable/satellite stations. This is not meant to deny citizens their right to information but rather to protect our indigenous culture and allow us, as a sovereign nation, to settle our differences in our own peaceful ways. A few years ago, a Cable Satellite Redistribution Station of Southern Africa extraction commenced a satellite-operated bouquet of stations, with over 40 satellite channels, which it transmits to the entire continent of Africa and beyond. So many Nigerians also subscribe to their services. The major advantage of their service is that wherever you are- even in the most interior villages of Africa you can receive their service (clear reception of signals) since they transmit on satellite. Some people have complained about some of the programmes on their channels ranging from indecency to other forms of offensiveness. The problem here is that it is difficult for the NBC to monitor these stations since the service providers are not operating from Nigeria. So, Nigeria has no control over what is broadcast on their channels. This should not be. It may be necessary to compel the service providers to establish their station and operate from Nigeria so as to provide the NBC the opportunity to monitor and regulate what is transmitted on their channels. Otherwise, other ways of effectively controlling what they transmit should be designed.

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5.

WORLD SPACE/SATELLITE RADIO: NEED FOR REGULATION

A new system of worldwide radio entertainment emerged some years ago. It is called the World Space Radio. It utilizes satellite technology to transmit or beam a bouquet of radio stations around the world. It has so many radio stations on it, from around the world Europe, America, Asia, Latin America, the Arab World, and even Africa, particularly Ngoma Radio - an all-music station which plays mostly Makosa music, though sometimes some other African music, even different Nigerian music genres, are played on the Ngoma Radio Station. All sorts of Radio stations around the world, specializing in different programme kinds, are on the World Space/ Satellite Radio; educational programmes stations of all kinds; information based radio stations; the BBC and other news based radio stations world wide are on the collections of radio stations on the World Space Radio, including the CNN (you hear the audio output of the CNN without pictures /motion); and entertainment stations; Pop music radio stations, Rock Music stations, Reggae music stations, Country Music, Classical, Jazz and other kinds of music based radio stations world-wide. Some stations on the World Space Satellite Radio are periodically encrypted while most of them are perpetually open. The World Space Radio signals are digital, which ensures crystal clear, crisp, sound output. Thus, in terms of sound output, clear reception and programme quality, the World Space Radio is superior to most of our local radio stations. And on World Space Satellite Radio, you bother less about commercial interruptions of programmes, and you have a variety of stations and programmes to choose from. Stations on the World Space Radio are similar in content, as in programme specialization or programme identity, to the international satellite television stations such as the CNN, BBC, MTV, Channel 'O', Discovery Channel, Movie Channels, etc, which are received worldwide, or in parts of the world. The World Space Radio operates like the DSTV which downlinks so many TV stations on Satellite and redistributes them through satellite, to parts of the world, from a central point; in the case of World Satellite Radio, around the world. To receive the radio stations on the World Space/Satellite Radio, you need to acquire a world space / satellite radio set/receiver, which is equipped with a satellite signals receiving antennae, place the antennae in the correct or accurate position outside your house or car, to access the transmitting satellite in space, and, pronto, you have access to several radio stations around the world from your living room or car, wherever you are, even in the remotest villages! It is important for the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to formulate a policy on this world satellite radio reception in Nigeria now, because we believe 76


that sooner or later it will pose some new challenges to broadcasting in Nigeria with the implication of widening further the issue of cultural intrusion from dominant cultures of the world. Nigerians who are increasingly preferring cable satellite television stations around the world to our local TV channels, may also prefer the World Satellite Radio station where they have wider choice, crystal clear digital sound, better and wider musical entertainment etc, with less commercial interferences. Imagine the implications for the nation! What is required is not to discourage, block or jam the reception of World Satellite Radio reception in Nigeria. It is a good innovation. But we must regulate reception and Nigeria should utilize the system to showcase her culture, particularly her music, to the world. Today, African and other underdeveloped and developing countries in the world including Nigeria, face the problem of "cultural intrusion" or "cultural imperialism" from developed nations of the World particularly Europe and America. Every new communication technology tends to aggravate the helpless position of less developed countries of the world as they are inundated with cultures foreign to their experience, which consequently relegate their indigenous cultures to the background. John R. Bittner has said that "cultural intrusion issue arises when a TV or radio station beams its signals to a direct broadcast satellite, which has the power to reach thousands of viewers (or listeners) in another country who can receive the signals directly on their home television (or radio) sets signals which are not filtered out or edited by the local television (or radio) news 33 editor" The implication of this can be far-reaching for a nation as Nigeria. Thus, some countries seek strategies and mechanisms of regulation, to control such cross-border broadcast receptions in their countries. For instance, Mexico banned certain American television programmes it believed were too violent; and Canada took economic steps to curtail American commercials; during the Cold War, Communist nations did everything technologically possible to jam transmission of broadcasts from Capitalist nations such as America. And so, for fear of the spread of Communist ideology and propaganda, certain Western nations jammed transmissions of broadcasts originating from Communist countries. Satellites were first brought to wide-spread use in the mid-1960s. In 1960, Dallas Smythe, then head of the U.S.A.'s Federal Communications Commission, FCC's economics division, predicted that satellites would put a strain on international relations. Smythe's predictions are just today beginning to be fulfilled. But we are yet to witness the high point of the fulfillment of that prediction. As more and more nations acquire the best possible knowledge of satellite and other technologies achievable or attainable, it may well come to be that space wars will be triggered and fought in future, whereby pre-eminent nations will seek to stop others from reaching their heights in technological accomplishments that make them primus inter pares in the comity of nations - technologies that enable them 77


exercise influence in world affairs - in the same way that the spread of nuclear and other technologies of weapons of mass destruction has become today the subject and cause of world tensions and wars. What will be the role of the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, in time to come? Will the ITU assume a similar role and importance as the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA? The European Telegraphic era of the mid-1800s can be credited as the father of the ITU. The ITU handles the most sophisticated communication systems in the world today, as a regulatory agency of the United nations, playing its regulatory role through conferences and conventions. Since the development of Satellite technology, the ITU has become increasingly important, as control of international mass communication and electromagnetic spectrum rests on it. However, the ITU does not have the enforcement powers of national broadcast regulatory agencies like the NBC, which is a problem, as it cannot compel compliance, and is helpless where powerful member nations insist on having their way. In practice, the ITU is only a collective body of sovereign states and is only as strong as the willingness of those states to abide by its treaties. And its member nations view it not so much as an independent agency but as an arena in which to negotiate uses of telecommunications34. But in future, as more and more nations acquire modern technological knowledge of satellites and other technologies, pressures will mount on the ITU as demands are made by emerging powers for equity, fairness and equal access and reach. And today's powers will be compelled to surrender their leverage. The comments of Ethiel De Sola Pool, decades ago, is instructive, even though satellite technologies have today surpassed his perception of their initial limitations. He had said: "The proposals for regulation of satellite communication have focused on one particular aspect of the topic, namely direct broadcast of television across borders‌ "Now, 15 years later, the prospects of any country sending uninvited TV from a satellite direct to homes in any other country are as remote as ever. Forecasters overestimated the ease and speed with which satellites could be used for direct international broadcasting. The expensive high-powered satellites needed for direct broadcasting are only now ceasing to be experimental. Such satellite would have to transmit at a frequency which TV sets could receive, but which would not interfere with TV and other communications on the ground; there rarely are such frequencies. Furthermore, hundreds of thousands of TV owners in the receiving country would have to buy dish antennas and point them accurately at the transmitting satellite; otherwise, transmitting would be an expensive exercise in futility. 78


“The direct satellite broadcast debate illustrated a typical overestimation by nontechnicians of the ease of introduction of a new device, yet the debaters were groping at some genuine issues. Even if the fear of satellite broadcasts penetrating countries against their will was a hallucination, the long-run trend toward adoption of global direct communications unconstrained by national topographies is a powerful one. There is a powerful trend of modern communication in voice, data, and modes other than TV to become supranational. Just as one should not overestimate the imminence of direct satellite TV broadcasting without the cooperation of the receiving country, so equally one should not underestimate pressure in the long-run to use satellite efficiently, i.e., without respect to national 35 frontiers. Political authorities, however, will try to resist that" . Yes, political authorities will resist direct satellite TV and radio broadcasting without the co-operation of the receiving country, or without respect to national frontiers. This is one of the reasons for the establishment of regulatory agencies as the NBC in many countries. For, to surrender a nation's airwaves to international broadcast stations without regulation by the receiving nation would be inconsistent with that nation's sovereignty and aspirations for its identity, culture and self preservation. What is required is a reasonable regime of regulation that recognises a "global village" system, without undermining national culture and ideals. And a receiving nation must be given an opportunity to access global broadcasting with its own cultural outputs. Today, developing nations suffer a disadvantage with the advent of the internet and other satellite transmitting and delivering communications forms in voice, data and other modes of modern communications. They receive without the capability or opportunity to contribute. They are rendered incapable of participating by poverty and inequalities in global relations and technological knowledge. If they cannot participate they can at least decide what comes into their countries and how. They must therefore find effective and efficient strategies of regulation of what their citizens receive, and be ingenuous in the formulation of legal frameworks and strategies of regulation and control, in a world where technological innovations move at astonishing speed, in all ramifications, particularly in telecommunications and broadcast technologies which continuously seek to outflank less powerful and weak nations' efforts at controlling foreign information consumption preferences, attitudes and access of their citizens. The NBC must be up to date with trends in technological innovations and systems that seek to enlarge and expand the frontiers of cultural intrusion or imperialism. 6. How does the Board of Directors of a private electronic media house ensure that its operational staff, especially its air personalities, comply with the laws, rules and regulations governing private electronic media operations in Nigeria? 79


"The speed of communications is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of that we know to be untrue. The newest computer can only compound at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the oldest problems, of what to say and how to say it". - Alexander Kendrick, Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow (NY Little Brown & Co. 1970 P13-14). By the provisions of the laws governing the establishment and operation of private broadcast media in Nigeria, it appears that the responsibility of corporate compliance with the laid-down rules and regulations governing the industry, rests on the Board of Directors of a licensed station who represent the company. In corporate practice however, the main function of the Board of Directors is the drawing up of general corporate policy guidelines, objectives and philosophy, and top management recruitment. The implication of this is that the Board of Directors is (so to speak) distant from the day-to-day operations of the organisation. Even the Chief Executive of an organisation, on whom the Board of Directors could be said to delegate considerable corporate authority, is in practice, usually occupied with administrative functions to the extent that he is incapable of effectively and completely monitoring the entire operations down the line. He then sub-delegates authority to his subordinates. With particular reference to private broadcast media, some problems could arise in this respect. Take a hypothetical case of a Continuity Announcer who abuses his privileged access to the public by making remarks on air (which he is not authorised by his employers to make) that are capable of causing disaffection among members of the public. Supposing such remarks are injurious to the religious sensibilities of a section of the public or is calculated to incite insurrection or pose other forms of danger to the nation? Supposing further that a Newscaster chooses on his own to go outside the news from the Newsroom and "imports" his own news (in course of reading the news) with the intent to cause disaffection among members of the public? In any of these events, is it justifiable to hold the Board of Directors of the company responsible and consequently revoke the company's license to broadcast as a punishment, or to invoke any other of the NBC's various categories of sanctions, thereby throwing huge private investments in the media house down the drain? The two scenario above are not far from possible. Indeed, it is possible for a politician, bent on doing mischief, aimed at achieving undue personal ends, to approach any of the air personalities mentioned above, with an offer of money the latter cannot refuse, to induce the latter to commit the illegal act. Such mischief could also be perpetrated by any other individual or group of persons apart from a politician. Thus, such possibilities must be adequately addressed. A true live incident in this respect readily comes to mind. During the Second Republic, a newscaster in a government owned television station in the South East of the country, stunned all television viewers in a news broadcast when in the middle of the news, he exclaimed, "oh my God, I'm tired of all these falsehood!" and 80


walked out of the studio in the full view of the audience (viewers) spread across several states in the South East! It was a government owned television station. The dominant speculation on that incident was that the newscaster was "settled" (bribed) by the opposition party to swing public opinion and sympathy in favour of the opposition, by discrediting the opposition party. Thus, the possibilities of our two scenarios above are real, especially with the liberalised broadcast media in Nigeria. We suggest that it should be made mandatory for some Board members (one Board member may suffice for this purpose) of a private organisation seeking license to establish a private broadcast station, to be active operational director(s), involved in the daily operations of the organisation. This way, the interests of the Board of Directors, the investors and the nation would all be accommodated in course of the operations of the station. In our opinion, a completely distant Board of Directors stands the risk of leaving its interests in the wrong hands, which, in the event of serious breach of the laws that govern broadcasting in Nigeria as in the case above, could put their huge investments on the line. We suggest that the NBC should make it mandatory for any organisation applying for broadcast license, especially radio and television licenses, to have in its Board of Directors and shareholders, at least one seasoned broadcaster with a minimum of ten years experience in active broadcasting. Such a member must have some shares in the organisation even if it is below one percent of the company's authorised share capital. The advantage here is that the seasoned broadcaster puts in his experience in ensuring that the rules and regulations governing the industry, are obeyed, knowing that he stands the risk of losing his investment in the organisation as well as his job, in the event of the application of sanctions resulting from any fundamental breach. The NBC should also design its sanctions in a way that erring air personalities should be individually responsible for their wrong actions, remarks or pronouncements on air, which are capable of causing disaffection among members of the public, to the extent of the damaging character of the wrong. However, such sanctions must be predicated upon the finding that such harmful remark was personally motivated; that is, that it was not authorized by the management of the station. Though we acknowledge the difficulties the NBC could encounter in attempting to deal directly with individual employees of licensees rather than the easier channel of dealing with licensees as corporate bodies. However, our suggestion of governing the activities of the air personality and making him responsible for his own wrongdoing, will help instill some discipline and caution in air personalities. Under the Law of Tort, a person who employs others to advance his economic interest should be held responsible for any harm caused by the activities 36 of those employees . But unless the wrong falls within the course of the servant's employment the 81


employer is not liable. For the employer to be liable, the wrong must fall within the scope of employment before it can be said to be expressly or impliedly authorised by the employer, or where it is an unauthorised manner of doing something which the servant or employee is authorised to do, or where it is necessarily incidental to something which the servant is employed to do37. The test of whether a conduct is or is not within the course of employment is ultimately one 38 of fact to be decided in the light of general principles . Lynskey J. has said that "it must be a question of fact whether an unauthorised act by a servant is within the scope of his employment or outside his employment"39. But where a servant or employee was "going out of his way, against his master's implied commands when‌ on his master's business, he will make his master liable; but if he was going on a frolic of his own without being at all on his master's business; the master will not be liable"40. With regard to the two scenarios above 1) an erring Continuity Announcer and, 2) an erring Newscaster, respectively, they are strictly (personally) responsible for their wrongful acts since they were not authorised to engage in or to do the act and by so wrongfully acting they have gone beyond or outside the ordinary course of their duties. Therefore, sanctions for the wrongful act should be directed at the employee and not the employer (the station) . Going by the historical antecedents in the private print media in Nigeria, in comparative situations where government considered certain publications offensive and against national interest, the practice has been for government to direct its anger against the company in its entire corporate existence. Proscription of the offensive publication along with all papers published by the owner company is usually the approach of successive governments. In some cases the entire premises of the media house was sealed off by security agents. The point we labour to make here is that in the event of the occurrence of any of the two scenarios described above, that is, where an air personality commits a wrongful act against public interest, unauthorised by the company, and outside his normal duties, government's first reaction might be hurriedly extreme, possibly closing down the electronic media house or even outright revocation of the broadcast license. A better approach, we suggest, is for government to temporarily suspend transmission by the media house involved, while it conducts an accelerated investigation into the offensive material to ascertain whether it had the official blessing of the management of the station or whether it was the unilateral act of the Continuity Announcer or Newscaster involved. Section 10 (b) of the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree 1999, provides that " A licensee shall be responsible for the contents of the station's broadcast". This provision appears to be conclusive on the issue of vicarious liability of the licensee for any act or conduct of its employee, for what the employee says on air and how he says it. This provision appears to endorse the 82


various reasons advanced for the justifiability of the principle of vicarious liability. Ordinarily, it would seem unfair to hold an employer liable for the torts of his employer; that a person who has himself committed no wrong should be liable for wrong doing of another. But some reasons have been advanced to justify this. Some have argued that a person who employs others to advance his own economic interest should be held responsible for any harm caused by the activities of those employees41. Another reason advanced is that since the employee in most cases will not have the resources to pay the Plaintiff's damages, he will not be worth 42. suing Other reasons advanced for the Justifiability of the principle are that: the 43 employer must have been negligent in employing a negligent servant , or in failing adequately to control him, that the employer has "set the whole thing in motion"44: that the employer benefits from the servant's work and so should bear the responsibility for damage the servant may cause in its performance45. Whatever reasons are advanced to justify the liability of an employer for the acts or wrongs of his employee, an employer should not be shouldered with heavy responsibilities for the negligent or wrongful acts of his employee, which the employer did not authorize. With regard to the unauthorised act of an air personality in a broadcasting station, we believe that it is wrong to hold the licensee or owners of the station liable. The licensee should not be made to suffer the deliberate unauthorised and wrongful act of an employee who makes remarks that threaten public peace, or remarks harmful to a section of the audiences of the broadcast output of the station. Section 10(b) of the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree of 1999 should therefore be reviewed. We believe that the Board of Directors and management of a broadcast media house can design a staff recruitment policy that will to a large extent reduce the possibilities of such occurrence, if not completely avoid it. The departments under which these two categories of staff (Newscaster and Continuity Announcer) fall, are the News and Programmes departments, respectively. It is suggested that private broadcasting organisations should employ seasoned broadcasters in these departments. A young graduate, fresh from school, with all youthful ideas and unrealistic theories of an ideal society, has the natural tendency to be overzealous, with a determination to be controversial, to impress the public and be given a hero or celebrity status. Such young graduates are also more likely to easily succumb to financial inducements or temptations by monied mischief makers who would want to use such young broadcasters to advance their selfish interests. On the other hand, a seasoned broadcaster should know the implications of every utterance. He is a professional and can be trusted with privileged access to a diverse audience. Besides, being (usually) married, he should have a sense of responsibility, and fear of exposing his family to the discomfort of his long absence should he step on the wrong side of the law. Private stations are therefore 83


advised to employ seasoned broadcasters who are married and, better still, not below the age of 35 years, as heads of news and programmes departments. Though some young graduates, fresh from school, could have a mature approach to issues, a high sense of responsibility and are usually very talented. It is for the Board or the recruiting management to discover such exceptions in course of interviews. It must be noted here that young employees are usually very creative and adventurous. Thus, the broadcast station could explore the creativity of these young talents who should be put in positions where they are under the supervision of and sub-ordinate to more mature Heads of Departments. The idea is that while the creativity of these young persons is useful to the organisation, their possible excesses are checked by the more mature and professional heads of departments. However, as young persons, they are better presenters of programmes targeted at the youth and young persons in the audience. Thus, for the purpose of such presentations talented young persons are assets. We recommend regular staff training programmes in which broadcasters, especially those of them that have privileged access to the public air personalities - are sensitized to understand and appreciate their responsibilities and the rules and regulations governing private media operation. They should be made to know the implications of their actions. It is also possible for the Chief Executive of a broadcasting station to design a system (either under his desk or a mobile system) that makes it possible for him to switch off transmission whenever he notices a broadcast material being transmitted which is capable of undermining the law !! We also suggest that air personalities be made to sign an undertaking before employing them an undertaking promising to abide by all relevant rules and to avoid acts and remarks that may undermine the peace. Infact, one way of solving this problem is to ensure that every presenter or continuity announcer works with a script always. Such scripts should be written and submitted to the Head of Department and vetted before using it on air. The NBC should make it mandatory for every broadcast station to have adequate police presence. This, in our opinion, is a necessary pre-emptive measure in a situation where a group of bandits may attempt to cause mischief by invading, occupying and holding the staff of the station hostage to achieve their selfish ends. The possibilities of such criminal acts are reinforced by the recent practice of rioting students of our higher institutions of learning, attempting to invade and take over broadcasting houses, to broadcast to the public and express their grievances in order to secure public understanding and solidarity. So it should be made mandatory for every broadcast station to be properly fenced and to have adequate police presence which may be complemented with their private security personnel. 7. News Content: One of the fears that informed government delay in 84


privatising the broadcast media over the years is perhaps the possible tendency to sensationalism and radicalism in news reporting, among some private media establishments. Our objective here is to address government fears which inhibit total liberalization of the broadcast media, and to encourage government to grant more licenses and therefore stimulate healthy competition in the industry, with all its attendant advantages. In an environment characterised by political instability and sometimes tribal and religious suspicions and conflicts, the content of news broadcasts - in this case the underlining motivation - on private media, should be of interest to government and also to the general public. Government has the duty and responsibility of keeping the peace and protecting life and property. To fail in this basic duty is to lose the fundamental basis of governance. Thus, any news material capable of causing a breach of the peace, should be of major concern to government. Though government could enact rules that discourage sensationalism in news coverage, experience has shown that some individuals cannot be trusted to comply with such rules. Thus, if government, through the NBC, must monitor news content in every station, it may resort to the extreme approach of employing a news vetting officer in every private broadcasting station. An even more extreme measure is for government to restrict the operations of private broadcast stations to entertainment only. Government may legislate against private stations airing political news, until such a time when private electronic media operation matures enough as to guarantee self restraint on the part of private operators. Government could also insist for the time being, that private broadcast media houses should not air political news of their own, but be compelled to join the government controlled network service (radio and television) as their only source of local news. These are extreme approaches which are sure to invite resistance by the enlightened segment of society. It is important to note, however, that no reasonable investor in the private broadcast media would commit such a considerable amount of capital in private media and risk such investment by stepping on the wrong side of the law. That alone should be sufficient guarantee to government. 8. Talk Shows: One area that could pose some problems to operators of private broadcasting stations is live presentation of talk-shows. In modern broadcasting, talk-shows have become a very important genre of programming, sometimes accounting for multi-million naira revenue. Thus, for commercial purposes, a station can hardly do without that area of programming. For Talkshows that deal with social and cultural issues, entertainment, etc. stations may have no problems. However, political and religious interviews or discussion programmes could be confrontational or explosive in character as to be capable of generating disaffection in certain quarters, or offensive to public interest. With the NBC's big stick hovering around in form of sanctions, such programmes could pose considerable threat to the corporate survival of the private broadcast stations concerned. To avoid problems, we suggest that broadcasting stations completely avoid live presentations of political, religious and other highly explosive 85


interviews or discussions. Where a station desires to present such political, religious or highly explosive discussions or interviews, we suggest that they be prerecorded and properly previewed and edited to remove all offensive remarks or materials that could generate ill-feelings and disaffection in certain quarters. In every such event, sensationalism and fundamentalist views should be completely avoided or expunged. Most importantly, however, audience participatory, interactive phone in programmes should be properly managed to avoid extremist provocative sentiments, and should be handled by very intelligent and experienced broadcasters who must have total presence of mind during such interviews. 9. a. b.

Restrictions on Licensing: Section 10 of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree 1992, states that: "The Commission shall not grant a license to a religious organisation, or a political party.

These provisions are necessary for now, in view of the recurrent religious crises in the country, and the longstanding incidence of religious intolerance. It is hoped that religious fundamentalism would reduce considerably in the near future, by which time, hopefully, there would be maturity, accommodation and tolerance in religious practices. By then, government could relax its restrictions on ownership of the media by religious groups. Regarding section 10 (b) cited above, which forbids the grant of license to a political party, we agree completely with the provision. We look forward to that day when our political system would imbibe the virtues of accommodation and issues based political contests, free from rancour. Then, perhaps, it would be time to review this aspect of the law. However, it is difficult to know how government or the NBC can detect a situation where a group of individuals from different parts of the country but who have similar political or igious affiliations, agree to apply for a broadcast license for the purpose of advancing the agenda of a religion or political party or ideology. Where they conceal their ulterior motive and hold their motivation out as purely commercially inspired, we think that it would be difficult if not impossible for the NBC to discover the real motive until it is too late in the day to avoid a damage. The NBC should, therefore, be extra vigilant. 10. Foreign Participation: Paragraph (b) of section 9 of the NBC Decree provides that an applicant for a broadcast license must prove to the NBC that he is not applying on behalf of any foreign interest. This provision is commendable. To surrender private broadcast media ownership and control to foreign hands could jeopardize national security as our socio-political and cultural conditions at present, and group loyalties to various foreign interests, may not accommodate controlling foreign investment in this area. However, going by the not-too 86


strange practice whereby Nigerians front for foreign interests in a manner that cleverly beats detection, one wonders how government can regulate foreign participation in this regard. However, with the high cost of broadcast equipments (which is the result of our poor technological status as a nation, and our continuing economic difficulties) the law should allow guided limited foreign participation by way of foreign involvement in the sourcing and acquisition of required broadcast equipments. Such foreign interests could hold limited shares in a private broadcasting organisation. The law and the NBC should however ensure that such foreign interests do not hold controlling shares in the organisation. The motivations of the foreign interest should also be properly investigated to ensure that they do not conflict with national interest. CONCLUSION We hope that this chapter has gone some way, if not all the way, in addressing fundamental issues that arise in respect of private electronic media operation in Nigeria. With this, therefore, it is hoped that government would completely liberalize the ownership of the broadcast media in Nigeria and grant approvals to deserving applicants, without fear of abuse. It is also hoped that practitioners, proprietors and operators of private broadcast media in Nigeria would find this chapter immensely useful in their daily operations.

REFERENCES 87


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7.

8.

11.

Norman Moss, The Pleasures of Deception

The Freedom Forum Media Studies Centre at Columbia University in the city of New York. John R. Bittner, Mass Communication: An Introduction, Prentice Hall, Eaglewood, Cliffs., New Jersey (1989) Ibid page 347 Ibid pages 347-348 Ralf A. Akinfeleye, Religious Publications: Pioneers of Nigerian Journalism. Culled from Mass Communication in Nigeria; A Book of Readings, Edited by Onuora Nwuneli, Fourth Dimension Publishers (1985) Awori A, Communication Training in Africa: An Overview Scope, Orientation and Coverage, culled from Mass Communication in Nigeria, Ibid. Anne Rawley Saldich, Electronic Democracy: Television's Impact on the American Political Process, 1979, Praeger Publishers, at page 24. 9.

Ibid at p. 30

10.

Ibid at p. 28

12.

William A. Hatchen, "The Supreme Court on Freedom of the Press: Decisions and Dissents (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1968) at pages 41:42. Quoted in Near V. Minnesota, 283 U. S. 697 at 718 (1931).

13.

Thomas Tefferson, Summary View of the Rights of British America. 14.

Thomas Tefferson, Ibid.

15.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1946) pages 1415.

16.

Dennis V. U. S., 341 U., S. 494 at 584 585 (1951)

17.

Emery, Edwin; Philip Ault and W. Agee, Introduction to Mass Communication, New York: Dodd, Mead and Co., 1975, page 18. Ken Ward, Mass Communication and the Modern World, the Dorsey

18.

88


19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37.

Press, Chicago, Ill., McMillan. Skonia Harry, Television and Society, New York: Mc-Graw Hill Book Co., 1967, page 15. Skonia, Ibid at page 15 John Stuart Mill, Ibid Elmer Davis, "The Need for Interpretative Reporting," in Ralph D. Casey, The Press in Perspective (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963). Page 63 Alfred E. Opubor, Mass Communication in Nigeria: A Book of Reading (Forth Dimension Publishers, 1985), page 225. Anne Rawley Saldich, Ibid at page 47. Schenck V. U. S., 47 at 52 (1919) Whitney V. California, 274 U. S. 357 (1927) Barenblatt V. U. S., 360 U. S. 109 at 126 (1959). DPP V. Chike Obi (1961) 1 All NLR, 186 The Queen V. The Amalgamated Press of Nigeria Ltd. and Ibidapo Fatogun (1961) 1 All NLR 199. (1981) NCLR at page 144; Brett F. J. commenting on the question of "reasonable justifiability" William Ernest Hocking, Freedom of the Press: A Framework of Principle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947). Page 67. Bernard Robin, Political Television (Belmont, Cal. Wadsworth, 1967) page 35. John R. Bittner, Mass Communication: An Introduction, Prentice Hall, Eaglewood Cliffs. New Jersey (1989), p. 338 John R. Bittner, Ibid, page 340. Ethiel De Sola Pool, "The Communications Revolution in an Interdependent World, Toward an American Agenda for a New World Order of Communications" (Washington DC: U. S. National Commission for UNESCO, Department of State). P35. Duncan V. Finlater (1839) 7E R. 934, at P. 940 per Lord Brougham. Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort 15th Edition, Sweet & Maxwell London, 1998, at P. 703.

38.

Ibid at p. 703

39.

Marsh V. Moores (1949) 2 K. B. 208 at 215.

40.

Parke B. in Joel V. Morrison (1834) 172 E. R. 1338.

41. 42.

Winfield and Jolowicz, Ibid at P. 727 Kodilinye and Aluko, The Nigerian Law of Torts, Revised Edition, 89


Spectrum Brooks, Ibadan, 1999, at P. 235. See also Limpus V. L. G. O. C. (1862) I. H. & C. 526 at 539, per Willes J. The employer usually insures against the liability of its employees and the cost of the insurance is transferred to or charged on its customers in form of higher pries but to impose heavy responsibilities on the employer may be detrimental to free enterprises. 43.

"The most hoary reason". Street, Foundations of Legal liability, II, p. 458.

44.

Duncan V. Findlater (1839) 6 C. I. F. 894 at 910, per Lord Brougham.

45.

Taff Vale Ry V. Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (1901) A. C. 426 at 439, per Farwell J.

CHAPTER FOUR 90


LEGAL ASPECTS OF BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA "Men are constantly called upon to learn over again how to live together. It is a hard task. When unprecedented disputes and difficulties confront them, they repeatedly turn for help to the government, as the recognized umpire"Zechariah Chaffe in the book Government and Mass Communications1. Broadcasting has major implications on national interest. As Marshall Mcluhan and Quentin Fiore rightly put it, the broadcast media are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, and social 2 consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered. Broadcasting has tremendous effects on society in diverse areas and much is thereby invested in this regard which include purchase of receivers, devotion of time to watching and listening to broadcast materials, and sale of advertising, etc. The broadcast media are also potential propaganda machinery used by both government and the opposition alike to control thought currents and to manipulate the emotions of people. Whatever its use, the effect on the audience could be far-reaching as it carries the audience through the following chain: attention comprehension enjoyment evaluation overt action. The frequency spectrum is generally viewed as part of a country's natural resources - it is a scarce resource limited in availability. Thus, though a free competitive media is imperative in a modern society, the need for a framework of regulation by government and other agencies, designed to check excesses and abuse cannot be overemphasized. Effective mechanisms of control and regulation are therefore important instruments of monitoring and supervision. Moreover, it is generally accepted that the media are the corridor, the 3 surest super highway to political and economic power and relevance. They confer status and legitimacy on issues and personalities. They are therefore potential tools for mischief if unregulated (especially in a system as ours where broadcasting has just entered the domain of private enterprise). It is for these reasons that no nation, however liberal or benevolent, can afford to surrender its electronic media absolutely to economic determinism, to unregulated free enterprise, commercial competition, free consumer choice, the processes of demand and supply and free political and cultural use. The history of regulation of broadcasting reveals that broadcasters themselves were the ones that first invited government to regulate the industry. Indeed, it is interesting to know that the United States Secretary of Commerce, then Herbert Hoover, initially objected to government regulation of the broadcast media. Between 1921 and 1926 when commercial broadcasting was still in its 91


infancy in the USA, it was very easy to establish and operate broadcast stations. The result was confusion on the various frequencies as sometimes several stations used the same frequencies. Worried by the situation broadcasters themselves invited the US Federal Government to regulate the industry. Regulation does not curtail freedom. Rather it checks the excesses of freedom. Infact, regulation strengthens freedom. Mechanisms of control, monitoring and regulation, are usually in such areas as allocation of frequencies and channels, geographical locations, times of broadcast, power of transmitters, type of emissions in terms of programme content and structure; prescription of type of equipment apparatus to be used, keeping records of broadcast contents and activities, prescription of nature of service to be rendered, prescription of qualifications for operators of stations and the processes of issuance of broadcast licenses etc. Government is the major regulator of the broadcast industry. Government regulates the electronic media through legislation and monitoring activities. There are also social agents that regulate broadcasting and programme contents. Such agents include public opinion, self-regulation by operators of the industry, regulation by educational and consumer organisations etc. In Nigeria, the Federal Government controls, monitors and regulates the broadcast industry through the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. The NBC was established in 1992 by the Federal Military Government under the leadership of ex-Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, through the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992. Section 1 of the Decree provides that the NBC, "shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name". Section 2 provides for the powers of the NBC. Under that section, the NBC is given the onerous responsibilities of: a. b. c. d. e. f.

�advising the Federal Military Government generally on the implementation of the National Mass Communication Policy with particular reference to broadcasting; 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; recommending applications through the Minister, to the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, for the grant of radio and television licenses regulating and controlling the broadcast industry; undertaking research and development in the broadcast industry; receiving, considering and investigating complaints from individuals and bodies corporate regarding the contents of a broadcast and the conduct of a broadcasting station; 92


g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p.

upholding the principles of equity and fairness in broadcasting; Establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regard to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast; Promoting Nigerian indigenous cultures, moral and community life through broadcasting; Promoting authenticated radio and television audience measurements and penetration; Initiating and harmonizing Government Policies on transborder direct transmission and reception in Nigeria. Regulating ethical standards and technical excellence in public, private and commercial broadcast stations in Nigeria; Monitoring broadcasting for harmful emission, interference and illegal broadcasting; Determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licenses of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest; Approving the transmitter power, the location of stations, areas of coverage, as well as regulate types of broadcast equipments to be used and; 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 the decree".

For the avoidance of doubt, section 1 (2) of the Decree provides that it is illegal for any person, organisation or group to operate or use any apparatus or premises for the transmission of sound or vision except under and in accordance with the provisions of the Decree. Thus, no person shall operate a broadcasting station without a license to do so, granted by the NBC. Therefore, the NBC has the Federal Government mandate to regulate the broadcast industry in Nigeria; including public (Government- owned) media. Section 3 of the Decree provides for the composition of the NBC. By the provisions of that section, the NBC shall be composed of a Chairman, nine other members as may be appointed to represent a variety of interests, including law, business, performing arts, education, social sciences, media and public affairs; and the Director General of the Commission. The Director General of the Commission is the Chief Executive of the Commission - section 5(1) and shall be responsible for the day to day running of the Commission - section 5(4). While the Chairman and other members are parttime members section 3 (4); whose tenures are three years, renewable for one further period of three years only - section 4(1); the Director General is a full-time member, and shall hold office in the first instance for a period of five years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for such further period as the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces may, from time to time, determine 93


section 5(5). All the members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President, Commander In- Chief of the Armed Forces on the recommendation of the Minister Section 3(3). Section 4 provides for the tenure of members of the Commission, while Section 5 deals with the powers and tenure of the DirectorGeneral. It also provides for the office of Secretary to the Commission and other staff of the Commission. Section 6 brings the Commission under the office of the Minister of Information whose directives to the Commission on general matters must be complied with. Sections 7 and 8 empower the Commission to articulate conditions of service and related matters for its staff. Section 9 provides for the power of the Commission to issue broadcast licenses, and conditions for such issuance which the Commission must consider when deciding whether or not to issue licenses. Section 10 forbids the Commission from issuing licenses to: a. a religious organisation, and b. A political party. Section 11 provides for the procedure for applying for a broadcast license. Section 12 deals with the terms and conditions for the grant of a license. Section 13 of the Decree deals with the powers of the Commission with respect to licenses, specifically in the areas of allocation of broadcast frequencies, location of stations, regulation of technical specifications of equipment and standards; imposition of sanctions, prescription of license fees etc. Sections 14 to 18 deal with the sources, spending and management of funds accruing to the Commission, as well as borrowing powers of the Commission, acceptance of gifts (provided such gifts do not compromise the objective and functions of the Commission) and related matters. Sections 19 to 22 are miscellaneous and supplementary sections dealing with preparation and submission of Annual Report, Power of the Commission to make general regulations necessary to facilitate the implementation of the Decree, and the repeal of subsisting laws which are in conflict with the Decree. Section 23 is the interpretation section of the decree, while section 24 embodies the citation section. The Decree also has three schedules. The First Schedule provides for proceedings of the Commission, power of the Commission to appoint committees and other related matters. The Second Schedule of the Decree deals with the form for the application for a grant of license. It contains the form of questionnaires which an applicant for a broadcast license must obtain, fill and return to the NBC (we shall deal with this subject in Chapter Five of this book). The Third Schedule provides for the terms of a license. ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY ON THE PROVISIONS OF THE DECREE The National Broadcasting Commission Decree confers on the NBC, the power of regulation, monitoring and control of the broadcast media in Nigeria. Thus the NBC is the administrative agent of the Federal Government of Nigeria on general 94


broadcast policies. Government relies on the Commission for expert judgment on regulatory problems and formulation of general broadcast policies. Indeed, the NBC wields enormous powers in respect of broadcasting. It has the responsibility of receiving, processing and considering applications for broadcast licenses section 2 (1) (b); receiving, considering and investigating complaints, regarding the contents of a broadcast and the conduct of a broadcasting station Section 2 (1) (f); determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licenses of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the Broadcast Code and in the public interest Section 2 (1) (n). Section 9(3) provides that "Compliance with the requirements specified in subsection (1) of this section (Section 9(1)) shall not entitle an applicant to the grant of a license, ‌." The combined effect of these sections reveals the wide discretionary latitude which the Decree confers on the NBC. It appears that the Decree erects no limits whatsoever on the discretionary powers of the Commission. The American equivalent of the NBC is the Federal Communication Commission, FCC, whose functions and powers are similar to those of the NBC. However, the FCC's discretionary powers were limited by Congress. The FCC is to carry on its duties (in cases where the FCC Act was not specific) subject to the test of "public interest, convenience and necessity"- section 307 (a) Federal Communications Act of 1934. The NBC does not have similar checks on its discretionary powers except if the last clause to section 9(3) of the NBC Decree "‌‌ . But the grant of a license by the Commission shall not be unreasonably withheld", is seen to constitute such a check or limit. The NBC Decree of 1992, in our opinion, does not contain comprehensive guidelines and processes to be complied with in the discharge of the Commission's duties especially in those areas where the rights and interests of operators (including prospective operators) of broadcasting stations are involved. It is therefore our considered opinion, that the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992, is shallow, without depth, and deserves considerable review in several respects so as to make it comprehensive. In particular, the Decree does not balance the enormous powers conferred on the Commission over licensees and applicants for licenses alike, with commensurate responsibility to discharge its duties in accordance with specific guidelines. Leaving the Commission to design its own guidelines is laden with the danger of abuse. It is easier to appreciate our alarm here if one adverts his mind to the fact that the NBC is reposed with administrative, quasi-judicial and quasi legislative functions. Its administrative character derives from its power of control and general policy formulation and implementation on broadcasting, on behalf of government; while its quasi judicial nature is evident in its power to revoke licenses, and to investigate, adjudicate and act on complaints against broadcasting stations. It is therefore a judicial tribunal of sorts. The NBC's quasi-legislative character is evident in its powers to make rules for the smooth running of the broadcast industry. Members of the Commission must therefore appreciate the enormous powers conferred on them 95


and exercise same, especially in granting, renewing or revoking licenses, with a sense of responsibility. One question that naturally arises in respect of the enormous powers of the NBC is: since the Decree does not provide for the right of an aggrieved party to contest the Commission's actions or decisions; can an aggrieved party pray the courts to review, reverse or otherwise consider the action or decision of the Commission? The courts have over the years built a code of fair administrative procedure upon the principle of right to a fair hearing audi alteram partem (hear the other side). This principle is applied in both administrative and judicial acts. And the courts would "refuse to countenance behaviour that threatens either basic human rights or the rule of law"4 The principle of fair hearing has its pedigree in ancient history. Fortescue J. locates the birth of the principle in the Garden of Eden:5 "I remember to have heard it observed by a very learned man upon such an occasion, that even God himself did not pass sentence upon Adam, before he was called upon to make his defence. Adam says God, where art thou? Hast thou not eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldst not eat? And the same question was put to Eve also". The principle applies to "every tribunal or body of persons invested with authority to adjudicate upon matters involving civil consequences to individuals"6 such as the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. The Lord Chancellor, Lord 7 Loreburn explained the principle thus: "Comparatively, recent statutes have extended, if they have not originated, the practice of imposing upon departments or officers of state the duty of deciding or determining questions of various kinds. In the present instance, as in many others, what comes for determination is a matter to be settled by discretion, involving no law. It will, I suppose, usually be of an administrative kind; but sometimes it will involve matter of law as well as matter of fact, or even depend upon matter of law alone. In such cases the (administrative body) will have to ascertain the law and also to ascertain the facts. I need not add that in doing either they must act in good faith and listen fairly to both sides, for that is a duty lying upon every one who decides anything. But I do not think they are bound to treat such a question as though it were a trial. They have no power to administer an oath, and need not examine witnesses. They can obtain information in any way they think best, always giving a fair opportunity to those who are parties in the controversy for correcting or contradicting anything prejudicial to their view" 96


In that case the decision of the Board of Education was quashed for not dealing with the question under the Act, whether they could legitimately discriminate between two classes of schools. The Board determined a dispute between a body of school managers and local education authority of Swansea which refused to pay teachers in church schools at the same rate as teachers in the authority's own schools. Diplock LJ has laid out certain processes that an administrative body like the NBC must follow when giving an oral hearing. These processes are: 1. 2. 3. 4.

All relevant evidence which a party wishes to submit must be considered Every party must be informed of all the evidence to be taken into account, whether derived from another party or independently. It must allow witnesses to be questioned, and 8 It must allow comment on the evidence and argument on the whole case:

Arrangements for hearing must be fair and justice may not be sacrificed for speed9. Wrongful refusal of an adjournment, when reasonably requested, may amount to refusal of a fair hearing, particularly where the party affected is thereby disabled 10 from appearing at all: Generally, the NBC should guard against improper purpose, irrelevant considerations and errors of law of whatever kind in its acts and decisions which affect the rights and interests of parties. An applicant for a broadcast license spends so much money and other resources in the process of applying for a license. The applicant should therefore know why his application was refused. The NBC 11 should state grounds upon which the license was refused. In R. V. Sykes Mandamus was granted to make licensing justices state the ground for refusing an application, even though their enabling statute did not oblige them to give their reasons for refusing the application. The NBC wields enormous powers; powers of commercial life or death over a person's business or livelihood: it is empowered to grant or withhold licenses and to revoke a license where there is a fundamental breach. The NBC Decree failed to provide for the right of an aggrieved party to contest the Commission's acts or decision. But that does not foreclose the right of an aggrieved party (for instance one who feels that the Commission erred by refusing to grant him a license, or an organisation whose license has been wrongly revoked) to pray the courts to review or reverse the action or decision of the Commission. NBC's actions can be contested in court by an aggrieved party. Every individual or group has constitutionally guaranteed right of redress where such a party feels aggrieved. The courts never renege on their constitutional responsibility of 97


protecting and enforcing the constitutional rights of individuals or organizations where they feel aggrieved. Though the Decree failed to provide any rights of hearing or appeal, the courts may "supply the omission of the legislature"12 Generally, the courts would determine whether the NBC acted within its lawful powers or whether it has been arbitrary, unreasonable or capricious in arriving at its decisions. Though we have said that the NBC Decree appears not to have provided a procedural safeguard or framework for the Commission, one may surmise that such framework or scope of authority within which the NBC must be confined in exercising its powers or discretion, does infact exist. It is, perhaps, possible to locate that scope or framework in a combined interpretation of sections 2(1)(n) and section 9(3) of the Decree. Section 2(1) (n) gives the Commission the responsibility of: "determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licenses of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest" (Italics supplied). Section 9(3) provides that: "compliance with the requirements specified in subsection (1) (of section 9) shall not entitle an applicant to the grant of a license, but the grant of a license by the Commission, shall not be unreasonably withheld" (Italics supplied). Total compliance (by an applicant for a license) with the terms specified as conditional for the grant of a license, as provided in section 9(1), does not therefore automatically guarantee that the applicant will be granted the license desired. In other words, the NBC may refuse to grant a license to an applicant who is qualified to be granted same. However, the NBC, in refusing to grant the license, is obliged to ensure that it does not unreasonably withhold the grant of the license to the party concerned. And for sanctions to lie against a defaulting station, it must be evident or seen that the defaulting station did not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest. These elements must be present before sanctions can apply against defaulting stations. What is meant by "unreasonably withheld" in section 9(3) is left to conjecture as the Decree does not specifically state what it means by that clause, though the common law supplies an answer to that as we shall see below. It is here submitted that section 2(1) (n), though dealing with power of revocation, can be imported into section 9(3) which deals with power to grant license. Since the Commission is empowered to revoke a license where in its judgement there is a proven case of default that is of a nature capable of undermining "public interest", it follows, therefore, that the Commission is, on the face of it, sufficiently protected in refusing to grant a license, under the canopy of possible danger to "public interest". Thus the Commission, when confronted by an applicant whom it denies a license (even though the applicant has satisfied all 98


conditions for grant of the license) may assert that it did so on conviction that to grant the license would endanger public interest. But there must be proof that to grant the license will jeopardize national interest, otherwise the refusal may be adjudged to amount to unreasonably withholding the grant. Note however that the courts may review such a decision by the NBC and determine whether the Commission acted in good faith, whether it acted fairly, whether it took only relevant considerations into account, and whether it acted within the scope of its powers. Where the courts find that the Commission's decision is intra vires, or is not tainted by any of the aforementioned elements, it may not interfere with the decision. The point we labour to make here is that though the NBC Decree does not specifically and explicitly delineate the scope of the NBC's discretionary powers, such restriction of scope may be inferred by the courts by a combined interpretation of sections 2(1)(n) and 9(3). Now, how would the courts interpret "unreasonably withheld" and "public interest". First, we begin with "unreasonably withheld". The principle of reasonableness emanates from the need to control discretionary powers reposed on administrative agencies. All power has legal limits and the courts would draw those limits in order to strike a most suitable balance between executive efficiency and legal protection of the citizen and would not countenance 13 14 arbitrary power and unfettered discretion . In MC Daid v. Clydebank DC and 15 Renfrew DC v. Mc Gourlick , ouster clause was in both cases rejected as bar to judicial review. 16

Lord Halsbury has provided a definition of discretion . According to him, discretion: "means when it is said that something is to be done within the discretion of the authorities that that something is to be done according to the rules of reason and justice, not according to private opinion ‌ . According to law and not humour. It is to be, not arbitrary, vague, and fanciful, but legal and regular. And it must be exercised within the limit, to which an honest man competent to the discharge of his office ought to confine himself" It is true that licensing is a far-reaching power, greatly affecting the rights and liberties of citizens, in particular, their livelihoods, and that this alone demands fair administrative procedure17. The mere fact that licensing powers affect rights or interests is what makes them "judicial", therefore subject to the procedures required by natural justice. In every situation where a power affects rights, whether administrative or not, it must be exercised fairly. And: "The answer in a given case is not provided by the statement that the giver of the decision is acting in an executive or administrative capacity as if that were the anti-thesis of a judicial capacity. The cases seem to me to 99


show that persons acting in a capacity which is not on the face of it judicial but rather executive or administrative have been held by the courts to be subject to the principles of natural justice"18 No distinction appears to be drawn between initial applications for the grant of licenses and the revocation or non-renewal of licenses already granted19. The principle applies in every case. The National Broadcasting Commission is therefore required in every case to observe the principle of natural justice in every decision or action it takes: in refusing to grant licenses or in applying sanctions on defaulting stations, in revocation of licenses etc. For instance, in suspending the operations of a licensed station for a fundamental breach of the NBC Decree or the Broadcasting Code, say for transmitting beyond its licensed radius of coverage, the NBC should give the defaulting licensee sufficient opportunity to defend itself. Even when applying sanctions following complaints about a station's conduct, the NBC should give notice of receipt of such complaints to the licensee before acting upon them. The courts may over-rule NBC's decisions taken without informing the licensee about such complaints about it, as there is a reasonable expectation 20 by the licensee that it would be informed of such complaints . A first time applicant is entitled to an opportunity to rebut personal allegations against him, and the holder of an expiring license may normally expect to be fairly 21 heard before renewal is refused . As Lord Denning has said "if the right to be heard is to be a real right which is worth anything, it must carry with it a right in the accused man to know the case which is made against him. He must know what evidence has been given and what statements have been made affecting him and then he must be given a fair opportunity to correct or contradict them"22 Where the NBC grants an application with bias, for instance where it grants a license to an already overcrowded license area, so that the business of licensed stations in the area is endangered, it is a wrong done not to the applicant but to licensees in the area, therefore the courts may grant a remedy to the existing stations in the area23. The NBC should ensure that a party against whom it is about to apply sanctions understands the issues and arguments against him which will be decisive in applying sanctions against him, and in every case there should be no manifest unfairness24. Lord Green MR expounded what constitutes an unreasonable administrative action in the celebrated case of Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. V. Wednesbury Corporation25, thus: "It is true that discretion must be exercised reasonably. Now what does that mean? Lawyers familiar with the phraseology used in relation to 100


exercise of statutory discretion often use the word "unreasonable" in a rather comprehensive sense. It has frequently been used and is frequently used as a general description of the things that must not be done. For instance, a person entrusted with a discretion must, so to speak, direct himself properly in law. He must call his own attention to the matters which he is bound to consider. He must exclude from his consideration matters which are irrelevant to what he has to consider. If he does not obey those rules, he may truly be said, and often is said, to be acting "unreasonably. "Similarly, there may be something so absurd that no reasonable person could ever dream that it lay within the powers of the authority. Warrington LJ in Short V. Poole Corporation26 gave the example of the red haired teacher, dismissed because she had red hair. This is unreasonable in one sense. In another, it is taking into consideration extraneous matters. It is so unreasonable that it might almost be described as being done in bad faith; and, in fact, all these things run into one another" 27

In Roberts V. Hopwood, Lord Summer said: "A person in whom is vested a discretion must exercise his discretion upon reasonable grounds. A discretion does not empower a man to do what he likes merely because he is minded to do so he must in exercise of his discretion do not what he likes but what he ought. In other words, he must, by the use of his reasons ascertain and follow the course which reason directs. He must act reasonably". To Lord Diplock, an unreasonable action or decision is that which is: "So outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question to be decided 28 could have arrived at it" The NBC in its actions and decisions in granting, refusing or revoking licenses, and in its general dealings with licensees, especially in making decisions or taking actions that affect their operations and businesses, and in applying sanctions in particular, must guard against unreasonableness. The categories of what could possibly constitute an unreasonable action by the NBC cannot be foreclosed. With regard to section 9(2) of the decree, the NBC must always ensure that the grant of a license is not "unreasonably withheld". We believe that the following categories of possible NBC actions among several others, may be construed by the courts to be unreasonable:

101


1.

Where the NBC refuses to grant a license to an applicant because his father owns broadcast stations.

2.

Where the NBC refuses to grant a license to an applicant because he is known to be a member of a Christian church or Islamic or other religious group (the NBC Decree forbids granting licenses to any religious group) even where the church, Islamic or other religious group is known to hold moderate views, and the applicant is not applying on behalf of any such group but for himself, and has no intension to use the station to propagate his faith.

3.

Where the NBC applies sanctions on a station for airing an advertisement which offended a section of the station's audience, though the same advertisement has been aired in other stations and there was no reasonable grounds to have refused to air the advert.

4.

Where the NBC granted a license and the licensee, acting on a reasonable 29 expectation that he could then proceed to establish the station without further assurance, so established the station, only for the NBC to withdraw the license on grounds that the area is already flooded with stations and that therefore to grant another license for the same area would impact negatively on the commercial interests of existing stations in the area or any other unreasonable grounds upon which the NBC may withdraw the license it has already granted, unless it has evidence that the licensee made deliberate misrepresentations or deliberately failed to supply certain relevant information which are fundamental to the Commission's consideration of whether or not to grant a license. Where the NBC had processed and recommended an applicant's license to the Presidency for final approval, only to withdraw the recommendation while it is still at the Presidency awaiting the Commander-in-Chief's approval, for another applicant's, with the appointment of a new Director General for the NBC, even where the Presidency had not disclosed its unwillingness to grant the license to the applicant.

5.

6.

Where the NBC applies high-handed drastic sanctions disproportionate with a station's default.

7.

Where the NBC makes rules, in keeping with its powers to set standards for commercial broadcast stations, pursuant to the powers vested in it under section 2(1) (h) of the NBC Decree, and such rules are considered as unreasonable and unfair by licensees whose commercial or business interests are affected by such rules.

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The NBC must not act arbitrarily, must not be oppressive in its refusal to grant licenses and in its decisions to revoke licenses, must not act in bad faith or place improper conditions on applicants and licensees; and must not take actions or make decisions on improper grounds or considerations or reasons; must not apply excessive penalty in relation to a default or offence by a licensed station, and must be consistent in its policy on conditions for grant, revocation and general policy on default and sanctions. Where any of these elements exist in a decision or action of the NBC, the courts may not allow it to stand. In every case, the NBC must be reasonable in its decisions and actions. Now, lets look at the "public interest" standard set in section 2(1)(n) of the Decree. The section provides that the NBC shall have the responsibility of : "determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licenses of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest" (Emphasis supplied). By the provisions of this section, the NBC is empowered to revoke licenses of defaulting stations where; 1.

They do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code; in this respect we believe that what the Decree means by "broadcast code" is section 2(1)(h) which provides that the NBC shall have responsibility of: "Establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regards to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast"

The broadcast code in this context, therefore, refers to the decree itself in its entirety and the National Broadcasting code enacted by the NBC pursuant to section 2(1) (h). 2.

They do not operate in the public interest.

We shall proceed to dwell on this "public interest" standard. There is hardly a precise definition of "public interest". In the United States case 30 of Woko Inc. V. FCC , the court of Appeal (District of Colombia) said of a similar but wider phraseology "public convenience, interest and necessity" "It would be difficult if not impossible, to formulate a precise and comprehensive definition of the term‌. It has been said often and properly by the courts that the facts of each case must be examined and must govern its determination". Thus where the NBC takes any action or makes a decision pursuant to section 2(1) 103


(n), and an aggrieved party contests that decision in court, it is left for the court to examine the facts of the case to determine whether or not the NBC is justified in its decision. Public interest is basically public good. Every licensee or broadcast station must in carrying on its operations, ensure that the good of the general public is served. The broadcasting code enacted by the NBC (laying out generally, standards for the broadcasting industry), is meant to accommodate "public interest" in broadcasting operations or endeavour. For instance, the code makes provisions on political programmes, children programmes, general advertising standards, including advertising of alcoholic and tobacco products, etc. All these are meant to serve the public interest. Broadcasters must always ensure that materials broadcast in their stations do not contain anything that compromise the public interest. Compliance with the rules and regulations of broadcasting, the Decree in its entirety, and the broadcasting code is very important. Indeed, if broadcasters remind themselves always that the people are the owners of the electromagnetic spectrum and that they (broadcast stations) hold their licenses in trust, to use them to serve the people, they would hardly be found wanting. The powers conferred on the NBC are powers given for public purposes, held upon trust and must be so exercised judiciously in the public interest. The NBC must always act within the authority granted to it by the decree. Where it acted beyond its scope, its action would be ultra vires. The NBC, as earlier noted, is a quasi legislative, quasi executive and quasi judicial authority. It must always conform with and observe the normal processes of a judicial inquiry and it must observe the safeguards provided by the constitution, when deciding whether or not to grant a license to an applicant, when considering whether to renew license, when deciding whether to revoke a license following a default and when applying sanctions of any kind. In the U. S. case of White v. FRC31, the Judicial standard expected of a quasi-judicial body as the NBC was expounded thus: "Administrative orders, quasi judicial in character are void, if a hearing was denied, if that granted was inadequate or manifestly unfair, if the finding is contrary to the indisputable character of the evidence or if the fact found does not as a matter of law support the order made. The Commission may not capriciously make findings by administrative fiat. Such authority, however beneficially exercised in one case, could be injuriously exercised in another, is inconsistent with rational justice and comes within the constitution's condemnation of all 32 arbitrary exercise of power" . In another US case of Saginaw Broadcasting Co. V. FCC33, the court spelt out the processes (judicial standards) which a Commission, such as the NBC, must observe and follow in reaching its decisions. The standards, as the court 104


explained, are: 1. Evidence must be taken and weighed, both as to its accuracy and credibility 2. From attentive consideration of this evidence a determination of facts of a basic or underlying nature must be reached. 3. From these basic facts, the ultimate facts, usually in the language of statute, are to be inferred, or not, as the case may be, and 4. From the finding the decision will follow by the application of the statutory criterion. Where the NBC fails to observe these processes in a given case, the courts would not allow such a decision to stand. The courts may review the acts of the NBC. Judicial review which 34 means: "Review of the manner in which the decision was made" is always within the powers of the courts. In Estwick V. City of London, the court said: "Wheresoever a commission or other person hath power given to do a thing at his discretion, it is to be understood of sound discretion, and according to law, and that this court hath power to redress things otherwise done" 35 A party that feels aggrieved by an NBC decision may seek redress in the courts. Prerogative remedies are available. If a party contests an act or decision of the NBC on the ground that the NBC has no power to act in that manner, the party may apply for certiorari to quash the decision and prohibition to prevent further unlawful proceedings. Where the party contends that the NBC has merely abused 36 its power, certiorari and Mandamus may simultaneously apply . Mandamus alone may issue. Whatever remedy is issued, the NBC's decision in question is affected. Before any party can seek the remedy of Mandamus, however, it must first make an express demand to the NBC to perform its duty. It is only where the NBC refused to so act that the remedy would be available. This is to enable the NBC know exactly what the applicant wanted or expected it to do, and to provide the Commission an opportunity to make up its mind whether to act or not37. But this condition may be waived38. Supposing company X applies for a broadcast license. Assuming that X fulfilled all conditions to merit the grant of the license. Suppose further that the applicant waits for a long time without reply from the NBC even after writing several reminders to the Commission? Can X sue the NBC for a continuing delay or inaction? Yes. X may pray the courts to compel the NBC to reply to his application. But the courts can only compel the NBC to act to say "yes" or "no", to 105


X's application. But the courts cannot compel the NBC to grant the license, for the court would not usurp the discretion of the NBC which is empowered to take the decision. In Roberts V. Hopwood39 Lord Mcnaghten said: "There are many matters which the courts are indisposed to question. Though they are the ultimate judges of what is lawful and what is unlawful to borough councils, they often accept the decisions of the local authority simply because they are themselves ill-equipped to weigh the merits of one solution of a practical question as against another. This, however, is not a recognition of the absolute character of the local authority's discretion, but of the limits within which it is practicable to question it" The House of Lords held that judges must resist the temptation of: "Substituting their own views for the views of the decision maker who 40 alone is charged and authorised by parliament to exercise a discretion" Thus a party aggrieved by the NBC's delay can sue the Commission, but the courts cannot usurp the discretion of the NBC. But it can compel the NBC to act, to take a decision whether to grant or not to grant the desired license. Final approval of licenses to establish and operate a radio or television station is vested in the President, Commander - In-Chief of the Armed Forces. The NBC is, by the provisions of the decree and in this particular aspect, only an advisory body to the President. In particular, section 2(1)(n) states that the NBC has responsibility among others, of "recommending applications through the Minister, to the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces for the grant of radio and television licenses". However, the NBC first receives, considers, and processes an application for grant of license, which then proceeds to the President for final approval. It appears that after the President has granted the final approval the NBC takes absolute control. The Decree does not, for instance, compel the NBC to seek the approval of the President in revoking broadcasting licenses already granted, in the event of fundamental infringements on the provisions of the Decree or the Code, by a licensed station. Thus the NBC can revoke a license without clearance from or recourse to the Presidency. But it cannot grant the final approval for a radio and television license at least not as the law currently stands. Thus, an applicant for a broadcast license whose application is not replied to by the NBC after waiting for a considerable length of time and after several reminders, and who consequently wishes to sue the NBC for the continuing delay or inaction should join the President, Commander In-Chief of the Armed Forces as well as the Minister of Information in the suit. However, it appears that where the Presidency argues that national security would be jeopardiced or undermined if the applicant is granted the license, the courts may not interfere, for natural justice or other individual rights 41 must give way to national security , and "those who are responsible for the 106


42

national security must be the sole judges of what the national security requires" . However, the courts will insist upon evidence that an issue of national security arises and only then would it accept it should prevail over some legal rights43. However, this does not translate to an "abdication of the judicial function, but there is a common sense limitation recognized by the judges as to what is justiciable"44. THE NBC AND THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATION At the initial stage of the establishment of the National Broadcasting Commission, there appeared to be a conflict between the Commission and the Federal Ministry of Communication with regard to which of the two government agencies controls the broadcast media in Nigeria. In this regard, it appears that there are misconceptions in some quarters as to the applicable laws governing the broadcast media in Nigeria. Going by the provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree, it is crystal clear that the NBC is the ONLY government agency conferred with the responsibility of controlling monitoring and regulating the broadcast media in Nigeria. Section 2(1)(d) provides that the NBC shall have responsibility of 'regulating and controlling the broadcast industry". Indeed, the whole of sections 1 and 2 of the Decree establish and spell out the functions and powers of the Commission. The NBC is to perform its functions under the "Minister" see sections 2(1) (c), 3(2), 3(3), 5(2), 6 and 20. "Minister" is defined by the interpretation section of the Decree S. 23 - to mean "the Minister charged with responsibility for information - meaning the Minister of Information. "Ministry", the interpretation section further provides "shall be construed accordingly" meaning the Ministry of Information. Also, "Commission" is defined by the Decree to mean the "National Broadcasting Commission established by section 1 of this Decree". Though explanatory notes do not form part of a law, they could be an aid to its interpretation. Thus any further ambiguity with respect to the purpose and function of the NBC is further cleared by the explanatory note of the Decree which provides that 'the Decree establishes the National Broadcasting Commission to, among other things, receive, process and consider applications for the ownership of radio and television stations including cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and other media of broadcasting". Furthermore, even if the control of the electronic media was hitherto conferred on the Ministry of Communications, it is submitted that the NBC Decree supercedes such a law. The National Broadcasting Commission Degree repealed all subsisting laws which would appear to be in conflict with the provisions of the Decree. The Decree (S. 22) repealed all such enactments including conflicting sections of Caps 329, 140 and 469 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria to the extent of their incompatibility with the NBC decree. Section 22 provides inter allia. "(1) Section 7(1) of the Nigeria Television Authority Act and Section 6(1) of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Act are hereby 107


consequentially repealed. (2) The power under the Wireless Telegraphy Act and regulations made thereunder in so far as they relate to broadcasting shall, as from the commencement of the Decree, vest in the Commission without further assurance than by this Decree'. Thus no ministry other than the Ministry of Information and the minister in control of the ministry have power to interfere with the functions of the Commission. Section 6 of the Decree provides inter alia. "Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the Minister (of Information) may give the Commission directives of a general character relating generally to particular matters with regard to the exercise by the Commission of its functions under this Decree and it shall be the duty of the Commission to comply with such directives". Thus, nowhere in the Decree is the Commission subject or answerable to the Ministry of Communication, in carrying out its functions. No other Ministry except the ministry of information, and no state government, has power to interfere with the functions of the Commission. Thus the Ministry of Communication has no business with the control of the broadcast media in Nigeria. However, the NBC may collaborate with agencies of the Ministry of Communication, especially the National Communication Commission in areas such as frequency allocation to licensed stations. We suggest that the NBC be made completely independent of the NCC. The NBC should be empowered to allocate frequencies to licensees. There is a difference between telecommunications and broadcasting. The NCC should concern itself with telecommunications while the NBC takes complete control of broadcasting, from issuing of licenses to frequency allocations. APPOINTMENT AND TENURE OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION: Section 3 of the Decree provides for the composition of the NBC. The section provides that the Commission shall consist of a chairman; nine other members as may be appointed to represent the following interests, namely: Law, business, performing arts, education, social science, media and public affairs. The inclusion of these wide range of interests which are the main actors in the broadcast industry is commendable. This composition would ensure that broadcast policies are well articulated and comprehensive in character and content. However, it is not clear what the Decree means by "public affairs" in the context of section 3(1) (vii). It is submitted here that the term "Public affairs" for the purpose of appointing a member of the Commission under section 3(1)(b) (vii) means any articulate member of the public who (being a member of the audience of the contents or materials of the broadcast media) could be appointed to the Commission to represent the interest of the general audiences of broadcast outputs. The Decree provides for five years term for the Director General in the 108


first instance, after which period he may be re-appointed for such other period as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces may from time to time determine. We believe that the five year initial tenure of the Director-General is commendable as this would ensure policy stability in the industry, especially in view of the fact that the initial life span of a broadcast license is a maximum of five years. One question that arises here is this: is the five year term of the Director General of the NBC binding on a new administration? In other words, supposing Government XYZ which appointed a subsisting DG of the NBC loses power to government ABC (either through a peaceful democratic succession or through usurpation of power by force) before the expiration of the five year term of the DG; can the new government sack the DG before his tenure expires? Under military dictatorship the categories of arbitrary use of power cannot be foreclosed. Moreover, this Decree is not binding on a military government. And it is on record that the first act of a dictatorship is usually the suspension of subsisting laws or sections thereof that are inconsistent with the goals and aspirations of the new government. Thus a military ruler may remove a DG at will, especially where he considers the activities of such a DG to be incompatible with the aspirations of the dictatorship or where it just does not like the face of the DG. However, under a democratic government it appears that a new government is bound to endure the subsisting DG until the expiration of his term of office except there are proof of fundamental misdeed bordering on abuse of office on the part of the subsisting DG or refusal to comply with the directives of the new government or incompetence. However, the new government may refuse to renew the tenure of the DG at the expiration of his term. Be that as it may, it is necessary for the National Assembly to review the NBC Decree in future, including the provisions on the tenure of the DG and to make more elaborate and specific provisions on the limitations of the powers of a new government to remove a subsisting DG. A new dispensation should be compelled to allow a subsisting DG to serve his term. It is suggested also that the tenure of the members of the Commission be staggered somewhat to ensure continuity. This can be done by ensuring that not all members of the Commission leave office at the same time. This is important to protect the interests of broadcasters, the Commission and the industry. The DG occupies a very sensitive position in the broadcast industry in Nigeria. The position obviously requires persons of outstanding experience, integrity and wide knowledge of the broadcast industry. Indeed the decree recognises this. Section 5 (3) of the Decree provides that: "The Director General shall be a person with wide knowledge and experience in broadcasting". It is here suggested that this provision be enlarged to stipulate a reasonable number of years of experience in active broadcasting, which a prospective appointee to that office must have in order to be eligible for such appointment. We suggest that for any person to be eligible for appointment to the office of Director General of the NBC, he must have at least ten to fifteen 109


years of active experience (practice) in the broadcast industry. A major indication of the desire of the Federal Government which liberalized broadcasting in Nigeria to ensure excellence in the industry, is the first crop of accomplished individuals appointed to man the affairs of the Commission. The first Chief Executive of the Commission, Dr. Tom A. Adaba, is an accomplished veteran broadcaster with excellent records. Equally commendable is the appointment of the first Chairman, Mr. Peter Enahoro (Peter Pan) who has made outstanding contributions to the development of the media in Nigeria. Other appointees to the Commission were also persons with impeccable records. It is hoped that successive governments would maintain this trend if the broadcast industry, being a very important part of our socio-economic and political life, must be saved the tragedy of degeneration. Government must avoid politicizing appointments to the Commission. Experience, achievements, excellence and integrity should be the guiding principles in appointing people to the Commission. And members of the Commission should be insulated and immunized from government control or influence. POWER OF THE NBC TO MAKE RULES Section 2 (1) (h) of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree provides inter alia. "The Commission shall have responsibility of‌ establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regard to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast". This is where the Commission derives its authority to draw up a code of ethical standards and other rules from time to time in furtherance of its function of regulating the broadcast industry. The National Broadcasting Code is therefore an integral part of the decree even though not specifically enacted by the Decree, and compliance with the provisions of the code is as mandatory as compliance with the Decree itself. The Code contains six chapters. Chapter one is the introductory part. Here, the functions and objectives of the Commission are explained. Under the introductory chapter of the Code, the NBC views its objectives from different perspectives. Generally, it considers it its duty to balance the major responsibility of broadcasting entertainment, education and information with national interest, unity and cohesion of Nigeria's divers social, economic, political and religious configuration. Other responsibilities of the NBC as detailed in the code, include promoting a new social order through the broadcast media by the inculcation of positive social values and norms, and a more active citizenry in the areas of civic and social responsibilities. The NBC also seeks to promote Nigeria's indigenous cultures while not discouraging the influence of positive foreign cultures in complementing and enriching the nation's indigenous cultures. The NBC also expects the broadcast media to promote the emergence of a strong national economy based on productivity, hardwork and consumption of local products 110


which would help in ensuring national self-reliance. On political objectives, the NBC admonishes the media to promote the emergence of an enduring democratic culture in Nigeria. The code also demands the contributions of the broadcast media in the promotion of technological self reliance. Other chapters of the code include: Chapter two; which deals with programming; chapter three, which regulates programme sponsorship; chapter four, which deals with advertising; chapter five, which regulates the technical aspects of stations' broadcasting equipment; and chapter six, which states the sanctions procedure to be adopted by the NBC in the event of default by stations. The code also contains Appendices A, B and C. Appendix A makes periodic masts and towers inspection and maintenance by all broadcast stations compulsory. It spells out details of the inspection and maintenance and the form of the report to be made available to the NBC at the end of every periodic inspection. Such reports must be produced on demand. Appendices B and C are technical definitions on audio/video circuit and Audio Recorders performance measurements and requirements, respectively. ISSUANCE OF BROADCAST LICENSES Section 9 of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree enumerates the factors which the NBC must advert its mind to in considering an application for a license. They include the following: -

-

-

The applicant's corporate registration under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree. majority shares of the applicant (organisation) must be owned by citizens of Nigeria; proof that the applicant is not applying on behalf of any foreign interest; readiness and willingness of the applicant to comply with the objectives of the National Mass Communication Policy as is applicable to the electronic media, that is, radio and television: an undertaking that the licensed station shall be used to promote national interest, unity and cohesion and that it shall not be used to offend religious sensibilities or promote ethnicity, sectionalism, hatred and disaffection among the people of Nigeria; and the applicant's undertaking to comply with relevant legislations on political use of the media. The NBC is further compelled by the Decree to consider the following in processing a license; the structure of shareholding in the broadcasting organisation; the applicant's number of shareholding in other media establishments; the distribution of those stations and establishments; as between urban, 111


rural, commercial or other categorization; section 9(5) further states that it is illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two television stations. It is not clear whether this provision means that it is legal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two radio stations. It appears however that the provision that it is illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two television stations also applies to ownership of radio stations. In other words, it is implied that no (one) person shall have controlling shares in more than two radio stations. Section 9(4) provides inter alia. "In determining the grant of a license the Commission shall consider the following, that is;a. The structure of shareholding in the broadcasting organisation; b. The number of shareholding in other media establishments c. The distribution of those stations and establishments, as between urban, rural, commercial or other categorisation", It is not clear whether subsection (4) (c) seeks to compel the Commission to consider the distribution of those other stations in which the applicant (organisation) holds shares, or whether the Commission is to ensure that generally, licenses should be issued to applicants in such a manner as to ensure wide national spread of stations in such a way that every part of the country urban, rural, commercial etc enjoys the services of broadcast stations, rather than concentrating stations in a particular area. Indeed, there is need to ensure fair, efficient and equitable distribution of stations across the country. Already, majority of applications for private broadcast licenses in Nigeria are for such commercial centres as Lagos, Onitsha, Aba, Jos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Kano, Ibadan etc. If the NBC allows this trend to continue, we shall witness a concentration of stations in particular areas, to the detriment of others. It is important to note that concentration of stations in some areas could do a lot of economic injury to the stations already established in the area individually and collectively. We suggest that the NBC should bring prospective applicants of broadcast licenses to come to terms with the fact that population is in itself a major factor in product marketing, through advertising. Therefore, advertisers are not just interested in the big cities alone, they also want to reach consumers in rural communities across the country where majority of citizens reside. Thus, applicants should not all scramble for the big cities alone. Some stations may attempt to stop the NBC from granting more licenses in the area where they operate, with the argument that to grant more licenses in the area may lead to overcrowding , which could render business in the area unprofitable. They may argue that there is limited business to support the location of additional stations in the area. However, the courts may frown at such 112


an attempt to foreclose the NBC from granting more licenses in a given area. The U. S. Supreme Court in the case of FCC V. Sanders had this to say on the matter: "Plainly it is not the purpose of the Act (Legislation covering broadcasting in the U. S. A.) to protect a licensee against competition but to protect the public. Congress intended to leave competition in the business of broadcasting where it found it, to permit a licensee who was not interfering electrically with other broadcasters to survive or succumb according to his ability to make his programmes attractive to the public"45 It is imperative however that the NBC ensures that stations are not crowded in an area as to render the business of the stations unprofitable. After all, private stations are established with the main objective of making legitimate profits from their operations. The NBC should therefore adopt a policy of equitable distribution of stations. The Commission has a responsibility to ensure that broadcast operators are given the enabling environment to profit from their investments. Back to section 9(4) (c); it appears however that the Decree is bent on ensuring that media ownership and control is diversified as much as possible to avoid concentration of ownership and control on same hands, a situation that could endanger national security as such media moguls could do so much damage if they decided to be subversive. Diversification of media control is also necessary in other to ensure that the public has competitive sources of information which correct each other's biases and errors. Broadcast licenses are not open to all comers; applicants must satisfy NBC criteria. In particular, an applicant for a broadcast license must be a corporate citizen of Nigeria (with majority shares of the company being held by Nigerian citizens); must have a good character; must also be law abiding, and must possess sufficient financial and technical resources to establish and operate the broadcast station. The applicant must also prove to the NBC that it has available commercial support for the station; there must also be sufficient availability of local talents and programme materials, evidence of members' previous experience in broadcasting, and available technical staff to be engaged in the station etc, must also be provided. Where the NBC is convinced that the applicant has satisfied the criteria for the grant of license, it may proceed to grant the applicant the license sought. Note, however, the provision of section 9(3): "Compliance with the requirements specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not entitle an applicant to the grant of a license, but the grant of a license by the Commission shall not be unreasonably withheld". Thus, the NBC may have other reasons for refusing to grant a license. However, where the license is granted, the licensee should be vigilant in order not to violate the laws governing broadcasting. STAYING IN BUSINESS

113


A licensee must be careful and must be law abiding if it must remain in business. To remain in business, it must retain its license; for as a US court rightly a f f i r m e d " ‌ 46 .a broadcast license is a public trust subject to termination for breach of duty" . The NBC would not hesitate to apply full sanctions in the event of fundamental breach of the provisions of the NBC decree or the National Broadcasting Code. IMPORTANT AREAS OF NBC'S SURVEILLANCE The NBC monitors the activities of stations in every respect. However, licensees must be conscious of the following areas: 1. Unauthorised transfer of control: Going by the average Nigerian practice of making huge profit from practically every human endeavour, it would not be unusual to find some persons applying for broadcast licenses with the purpose (intention) of selling or leasing same as soon as the license is granted to them. And except one ascribes the prophetic vision of a clairvoyant to the commissioners of the NBC, it would be asking too much of the NBC to expect that some of such traffickers in licenses can not pass through the Commission undetected. Moreover, with the continuing fall of the Naira, some applicants for licenses may originally have had the intention of utilizing their licenses when finally granted, and eventually were unable to afford the financial resources required to establish their stations, as a result of fluctuations in exchange rates and consequent inflationary trends. This category of licensees would naturally want to recoup all their expenses in the project before the hitch. The question here is, would the NBC allow licensees to sell or lease their licenses? In other words, does the NBC allow transfer of control of licenses? Section 3 of the Third Schedule to the National Broadcasting Commission Decree provides inter-alia; "a license shall not be transferable and the licensed station shall not be changed without notifying the Commission of the intentions or reasons for such change" It is clear from the provisions above that a licensee who desires to effect a transfer of control can only do so if it can prove to the NBC that it did not acquire the license originally for business speculation. The licensee has to explain to the NBC the genuine reasons for the desired transfer. Where the NBC is satisfied that the licensee did indeed apply for the license in question for service and not for sale or lease, and where the Commission is sympathetic to the reasons advanced by the licensee, the transfer may be allowed. MERGER TREND: Currently, the big business world is witnessing high incidence of corporate mergers. This trend appears more pronounced in the communications world- broadcasting, entertainment, showbiz, telecommunications. Even as recent as private broadcasting in Nigeria is, there have been several mergers of licenses. At the forefront of the mergers game are the Multi-choice and ABG cable networks. While this may be good for the parties 114


concerned, it is in our opinion too early in the day to begin to allow such mergers in the industry. Consumers will be the end losers as it would be easier for such media giants to fix their own prices for their services. The consumer would have little or no choice in the matter. However, the merger trends should not discourage the NBC from issuing new licenses to deserving applicants. Also disturbing is the practice where a company applies for cable satellite retransmission or redistribution licenses with different company names. Eventually, the same company is granted several licenses in the same area, with the result that it completely occupies the frequencies in the area, and other companies who would want to apply for licenses in the same area are unable to do so because the available frequencies in the area have been fully booked or granted. This then leads to monopoly. The NBC should discourage this practice. Licensees who would want to offer several channels in their stations should be able to acquire the technology that would enable them compress the three channels (the NBC grants a maximum of three channels for cable satellite retransmission licenses) into up to eighteen or more channels. To allow one company or two to occupy all the channels available in a city, thereby denying other interested companies the opportunity of investing in that city, is an unfair business practice. From the very beginning of cable / satellite redistribution operation in Nigeria, the NBC appears to have given its blessing to the sole or exclusive right of some licensees to transmit certain international cable stations programmes to the exclusion of other licensees. Of particular note is the Nigerian licensee who acquired sole rights to programmes (stations on satellite) emanating from a corporate citizen of Southern African origin. The result of this is that other licensed operators in Nigeria are either excluded from transmitting same channels or are rendered incapable of doing so. They are therefore unable to stand up to the competitive programming offered by the exclusive franchisee in Nigeria. This is unfair and it is capable of destroying the very basis of free enterprise, equal opportunity and competition. Such exclusive right to retransmit is unfair to other licensees as well as to local subscribers. We suggest here that the NBC should allow every licensed station equal opportunity to foreign cable network stations. The NBC should also ensure that just as its license fees differ from one location to another, royalties payable to foreign cable stations should also be charged based on the location of individual stations. The NBC should protect licensees and viewers alike from the excesses of cable network stations because at the end of the day it is the viewer that pays the price. We suggest further that rights to retransmit all international cable satellite stations received in Nigeria should be lodged with the NBC. The NBC would then extend such rights to the transmitting stations and collect retransmission fees on behalf of the international stations and pay them after collection. The Commission may charge some fees for its services to the 115


international stations. The important thing is that this will break the unwholesome practice of securing sole or exclusive rights to retransmit international satellite cable stations by some licensed cable stations in Nigeria which forecloses other licensed stations from retransmitting such channels, and where they are allowed, at exorbitant rates. 2. Over commercialization: licensed stations must ensure that they keep within the limits of advertising periods allowed within every programme. Commercial broadcasting has suffered serious audience outrage since the advent of broadcast technology. Frequent commercial interruptions have been criticized over the years. Though the audiences of broadcast materials understand the need for broadcasting stations to generate revenue from advertisements, the alarming interruptions and excessive fragmentation and dilution of interesting programmes by advertising messages, which interfere with the audience enjoyment of programmes, are outrageous. The NBC has made elaborate regulations on broadcast media advertising, in the National Broadcasting Code. Indeed, the NBC dedicated a whole chapter of the code to regulations on advertising. Section 4.3.4 of the code provides inter alia; "The amount of time for non-programme materials, especially advertisements, shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of total programme duration /slot. Thus, there is a 41/2 minute limitation advert time for a 30 minute programme and a 9 minute limitation for a one hour programme". This limitation is mandatory for all stations. It is in keeping with its position as an umpire in consumer interest versus business, that the NBC seeks to protect the consumer in this and other regulations enacted by the Commission. Thus, licensed stations should keep within the limits of allowed advertising time in every programme. Over commercialization could attract the sanctions of the NBC. Also, stations should avoid crowding advertisements together within a given time belt which they call commercial break. Adverts should also be adequately spaced in a way that programmes are not interfered with. 3. Departing from programme promises: Among the body of information required to be provided by an applicant for a broadcast license, are the schedule and synopsis of programmes it hopes to transmit in its station when it is granted the license sought. On approval of the required license, a licensee is expected to keep to its programme promises. However, a licensee may request the NBC to allow certain changes in his original programmes schedule. Where the NBC accepts to allow such alterations, the licensee is then bound by a new programme promise, which he must keep to. In drawing up a programme schedule and synopsis, care must be taken to ensure that the 60 40% (for Radio and Television Stations) equation of foreign and local programme contents (for cable satellite redistribution stations a mandatory 20% minimum local content is required), respectively, is complied with. 116


At the end of every quarter of the year, broadcast stations traditionally adopt new programme schedules. The NBC does not forbid this. However, copies of new programme schedules should be sent ahead of time to the NBC for approval before the station adopts it. 4. Indecent Programme Materials: The National Broadcasting Code spells out in very clear terms, guidelines which stations must adopt in their programming. The kernel of these guidelines is the admonition that programmes must generally be decent and fair, accurate and objective and must observe the maximum virtues of morality and social responsibility. There is a whole chapter on programming in the Code which is as elaborate as to make its terms unmistakable. Stations should therefore refrain from anything in their programme materials, contents or style, that undermines the virtues of decency. Most importantly, stations must respect the sensibilities of the different audiences within their respective areas of coverage. 5. Technical Violations: Licensees must ensure that they avoid technical violations of any kind. In particular, stations must avoid deliberately exceeding the coverage areas approved for them by the NBC; they must also avoid interfering with the frequencies approved for other stations within the same area. Stations must also acquire equipment approved by the NBC and should have NBC's technical presence at the point of installation of equipment. Infact, every rule on technical aspects of stations' operations must be observed. Knowledge of the Law of Broadcasting: Section 2. 2. 1. of the National Broadcasting Code provides inter alia: "All those involved in making and broadcasting programmes shall acquaint themselves with the following: i Laws of libel and sedition; ii Laws relating to matters before law courts or judicial bodies; iii The official secrets Act iv The Copyright laws; v Decree No. 27 of 1989 vi Any other relevant laws or Regulations; and; Vii International treaties/obligations of Nigeria relating to broadcasting" It must be added also that they should acquaint themselves with every provision of the NBC Decree. In addition to these, operators of broadcast stations must also have a good knowledge of all aspects of laws governing broadcasting generally. They must know that it is illegal to incite insurrection, to utter fraudulent, subversive, or obscene remarks. They must also know that it is illegal to plagiarise. Periodic sensitization of operators through seminars and study programmes is imperative. This is necessary if broadcasting stations must be 117


saved costly litigations, loss of goodwill, integrity and credibility and above all, their hard earned broadcast licenses. Political Broadcasts: Sections 2:4.1 to 2.4.4 of the National Broadcasting Code provide as follows: Political Party broadcasts, that is, programmes over whose content political parties exercise control, shall be only those in which the parties seek to explain their views and policies. All political broadcasts shall be in decent language. Political broadcasts shall be clearly identified as such and shall not be presented in a manner that would mislead the audience to believe that the programme is of any other character . Equal opportunity and air time shall be provided to all political parties or views, with particular regard to amount of time and belt. Broadcast stations must realize the potentially explosive nature of controversial political programmes. The delay in the privatization of the broadcast media in Nigeria is not unconnected with the fears of the negative political uses which mischief makers may apply them. Thus, political broadcasts must be handled with extreme care. Stations must also resist attempts by desperate politicians to use their media house as political organs. Every political broadcast must be in accordance with all relevant laws of the land. As the code rightly provides, every licensee has a legal obligation to present contrary or opposing views to a political broadcast. Every political group must be accorded the right of reply or defence in cases where opposing groups had earlier made injurious remarks about them. The law should take positive steps to check cost of electioneering through the media. As senator Robert Kennedy of the U. S. A. once rightly observed: "The mounting cost of elections is rapidly becoming intolerable for a democratic society, where the right to vote, and to be a candidate is the ultimate political protection. We are in danger of creating a situation in which our candidates must be chosen only from among the rich, the famous, or those willing to be beholden to others who will pay the bills. Heavy dependence on the relatively few who can meet these enormous costs is not only demeaning and degrading to the candidates, it also engenders cynicism about the political process itself"47 The above scenario is as true in Nigeria as it was in the U. S. A. of which Kennedy then spoke. Government can reduce cost of electioneering by legislating that political advertising should be some percentage lower or cheaper than commercial advertisements on all media electronic, print and outdoor. Government could even subsidise cost of electioneering. All contesting political parties should have equal treatment under such subsidy. There should be equal media exposure for all political parties in public (Government) and private media alike. Government should take the costs. Finally, on this subject, the NBC failed 118


to explain what it means by the provision that "equal opportunities and airtime should be provided to all political parties or news". Does this mean that once airtime has been paid for by a political party, and its message has been aired, that other parties should be given free airtime? 8. Children's and Religious Programmes: Broadcast practitioners should ensure that children's programmes aired in their respective stations are designed to comply with standards drawn up in the Code. They must be programmes that teach children the highest virtues of civic and social responsibilities; programmes that can help in the upbringing of disciplined children. Religious programmes should be designed and presented in such a way as to encourage tolerance and avoid fanaticism. Such programmes should respect the sensibilities of other religious groups. Infact, broadcast practitioners must read, understand and digest completely, Chapter Two of the National Broadcasting Code including the provisions on educational and cultural programmes, news and public affairs programmes and public events; as well as the National Broadcasting Commission Decree. Nothing short of full compliance with the Code and the Decree is expected of broadcast practitioners. Finally, we suggest that the NBC stipulate minimum academic qualifications for air-personalities such as continuity announcers, newscasters, presenters, technical and other staff of broadcasting stations, to further strengthen ethical standards and technical excellence in the industry. TENURE AND RENEWAL OF LICENSES Section 1 of the Third Schedule to the National Broadcasting Commission Decree 38 of 1992 provides that "a license shall be valid for a period of five years in the first instance". At the end of the first five years "an application for the renewal of a license shall be made to the Commission within a period of six months before the expiration of the license". It is important to state here that at the point of renewal, the NBC would compare or cross check a station's performance with the promise made by it in the original application. Thus, the five year original term of a license, as provided by the Decree, is to give the NBC an opportunity to look at the score board of the licensee and consider whether the licensee has in fact been operating in the public interest, and whether it has kept faith with its promise (s) in the original application forms. Thus the NBC will consider how a station carried on its operations during the first five years of the original grant of license, in making its decision on whether or not to grant the renewal. Reports, such as frequency of public complaints against the station, incidence of interference by the station on other stations' channels, violations of the broadcasting Code and the letters and spirit of the Decree etc, will all be considered by the NBC at the point of considering applications for renewal. For this reason, therefore, stations must ensure that they 119


comply with all written and unwritten laws on broadcast operation in Nigeria. They must keep faith with the public and avoid anything that could jeopardize their corporate continuity. The bottom line is good programming, decency, credibility, integrity and compliance with laid down rules. In the absence of negative image on the licensee over the life-span of the original license, renewal is almost automatic. One of the methods adopted by the NBC when considering the performance of a broadcasting station over the last five years of the station's operation, is the convening of a public hearing where members of the public within the coverage area of the station are invited to comment on their impressions and assessments of the performance of the station. Though the NBC wields so much power, broadcast practitioners have nothing to be afraid of so far as they heed the foregoing admonitions. The NBC exists to oversee the operations of the broadcast industry; to supervise it, regulate it. The NBC is there to ensure that there is sanity in the broadcast industry. It ensures that ethical standards and technical excellence are maintained. It is there to protect the consumer (the audiences) from the excesses of business (broadcast stations). The NBC also protects stations from the excesses of each other which may come about at the height of intense competition. The NBC is there to ensure that competition is fair and civilized. It represents government interests, as well as the interests of society collectively. Thus the NBC balances all interests in ensuring that there is sanity in the whole system. It receives, processes and considers applications. It grants licenses (provisional approval). It receives and investigates public complaints against stations, conducts, and activities of stations. It receives and investigates interference complaints and applies sanctions, where necessary. It sets ethical, technical standards for the broadcast industry. It is available for any enquiries on broadcasting in Nigeria; it approves equipment types for stations. It also revokes licenses in very serious cases of breach of the relevant laws governing broadcasting. The National Broadcasting Code sets out the entire underlying philosophy, principles, standards and sanctions that guide the broadcast industry in Nigeria. It must be complied with. Indeed, the NBC is a formidable body in respect of broadcasting in Nigeria. Thus it must wield its powers with all sense of fairness and responsibility. It must endeavour to understand the problems of the industry at every given time so as to be able to discharge its duties creditably and effectively as government's regulator of broadcasting in Nigeria. In the United States, the equivalent of the NBC is the Federal Communications Commission, FCC. The FCC in its "blue book" lays down four standards that it takes into consideration in granting or renewing licenses. The standards are: 1. A reasonable number of sustaining programmes 2. Some local live programmes. 3. Adequate time for discussion of public issues and balanced treatment of 120


controversies, and 4. Elimination of advertising excesses. The FCC also considers past performance. These FCC standards serve as a guide to prospective broadcast stations as well as stations in operation. The NBC should follow this example and lay down the major standards which it would take into account in granting or renewing licenses. Finally, we must add here that the NBC's role of constant re-evaluation of ownership, control, content and fairness should be done without jeopardizing constitutional guarantees of free speech, natural justice and the rule of law. SOCIAL CONTROLS OF BROADCASTING "In an era of social change, often unprecedented in nature, an institution as dynamic as broadcasting cannot afford complacency. It must face a future which will require many changes and it must come to accept greater commitments to 48 social leadership". Ward L. Quaal & James A. Brown, Broadcast Management . As earlier stated in this chapter, there are other social controls of broadcasting apart from the regulatory (legal) control by government through the National Broadcasting Commission. The National Broadcasting Code recognises the importance of these social controls of broadcasting. Section 6.1. (iii) provides that "a listener or viewer, (this by implication includes groups of individuals, organisations etc) may participate in the sanctioning (and monitoring) process by insisting on rectification of a deviation (by stations) from the Code". We shall discuss these social controls under the following headings: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Self-regulation by the broadcasting Industry Individual self-control by professional broadcasters Special Departments for programme screening in individual stations Consumer activism through audience vigilance Consumer advocate or public interest groups, and Stations' public audience involvement in programming.

1. Self-Regulation by the Broadcasting Industry. It is better for the broadcasting industry itself to come together as a group and draw up a code of conduct for its members as a way of forestalling sanctions by government (NBC), which if exercised could result in serious consequences should the full weight of the law be brought to bear. Such a code of conduct should be exhaustive, stating out principles, objectives and standards 121


which members must comply with. The kind of association advocated here is something similar to the Newspapers Proprietors Council currently in existence in Nigeria. It should be made up of the proprietors of all private broadcasting organisations. Membership could be voluntary. However, nothing prevents such an association of proprietors of broadcasting stations from condemning unbecoming conducts by stations who may not be members of the association. Such an association, in our opinion, would not be duplicating the objectives of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON. Infact, BON could be represented in such a council. It is indeed a good development for the broadcasting industry in Nigeria that BON does invite private broadcasting organisations to its meetings since the establishment of the first private broadcasting station in Nigeria. Though they attend as observers. Even if BON goes beyond this to allow full membership by private broadcasting organisations, it is still necessary for private broadcasting organisations to form their own exclusive association. The reason for this suggestion is not farfetched. BON in its original form is an organisation of government- owned broadcasting stations both state and federal governments. Private broadcasting organisations have their peculiar objectives which is mainly to make profits from commercial operations while government-owned media houses may consider their primary objective as bringing government programmes, policies and objectives nearer to the governed. Though the proposed association of proprietors of private broadcasting organisations may not exercise complete control over erring members, they could at least condemn in strong terms, any misdemeanor on the part of a member station and call it to order. Where there is a continuing breach by such station (either by way of indecent programmes or any breach of the broadcasting code or the NBC Decree) the association can threaten such a station with withdrawal of membership of the association. The association should be relevant to all private broadcasting stations by making itself available to intercede for any erring station about to come under the sledge hammer of NBC sanctions. The association can adopt the spirit of "be-your-brother's-keeper" among member stations. Such an association could also play the role of an umpire where two or more member organisations are involved in disagreements with each other. Co-operation among private broadcasting stations can further be enhanced through programme exchange among stations, and operating as a united body in protecting the interests of members collectively. The benefits to be reaped by every member of such an organization are numerous. The basic objective, however, should be the control of private broadcast organisations, to ensure that they operate within the limits of responsible broadcasting, and according to law. 2.

Individual Self-Control by Professional Broadcasters: "It is imperative that professional broadcasters prove they are capable of handling their own affairs not only for their corporate 122


and economic good but also for the good of the public which their stations serve. True maturity in broadcasting will reflect professionalism and enlightened self-regulation which anticipate and respond to the needs of society and, by so doing, confirm license stability and enhance the prospects of long-term profits from operating a respected and successful broadcast property" Ward L. Quaal and James A. Brown in Broadcast Management"49 In practice, every broadcast material transmitted from a broadcasting station originate from and is operated by talented professionals of the industry. Such professionals include script writers, air personalities; Presenters, Newscasters: Continuity Directors, Editors, Cameramen, Correspondents, Media Marketers etc. These categories of broadcast professionals control materials transmitted to diverse audiences. It is therefore imperative that these professionals should exercise individual and collective self-control in ensuring that broadcast materials accord with maximum standards of decency, accuracy and social responsibility in designing, packaging, content, and presentation. They should all understand that what they transmit has enormous effect on society generally, knowing that they have privileged access to diverse audiences with equally diverse cultural, social, economic, religious, political and other orientations. There should be an association of these categories of broadcast professionals with a code of conduct stating the principles, objectives and standards which members must comply with. Erring members who compromise the ethics of responsible broadcasting may be sanctioned by the association. The association should also be united in protecting the interests of their members and of the industry. Currently we have in Nigeria an association called Radio and Television Workers Union , RATAWU. However, this association appears to be only concerned with fighting for higher wages for members and sometimes fighting to remove stations managers they don't like. Little effort, if any, is made to improve the professionalism of members. We advise that the improvement of professionalism among its members should be a foremost concern. RATAWU as presently constituted does not meet the requirements of what we suggest here. A new association of professional broadcasters especially among private stations, should be formed. We also suggest that because of the central role played by these professionals in the broadcast industry, our higher institutions should include some relevant aspects of social sciences especially courses such as political science, law, sociology and psychology in training them for their respective careers. And the broadcasting industry should organise training programmes periodically to sensitize these different categories of broadcast professionals to their enormous responsibility to society. 123


3. Special Departments for Programme Screening by Individual Stations: In our considered opinion, if stations properly screen their programmes before going on air with them, it would be in the interest of all concerned; programme contents or elements that could be injurious to the audiences would be detected and expunged before airing, thus making the NBC's regulatory duties easier for it; stations would be saved costly litigations and the displeasure of the public, thus sustaining the much-needed goodwill which stations badly need. Also, investors in private broadcasting organisations would be saved the loss which NBC's sanctions could bring about in the event of serious breach of broadcasting standards. We therefore suggest that individual stations should have a special department made up of well-trained and talented people who must be able to detect a potentially offensive element in every broadcast material at first sight. Perhaps seasoned broadcasters with at least five years experience in preferably programmes departments of broadcasting stations would best qualify for this prebroadcast monitoring job. The enormous benefits of such a department far outweigh the cost of maintaining it. 4. Consumer Activism through Audience Vigilance; The Nigerian public is known to be very passive. Nigerians usually resign themselves to fate almost in every respect political, economic, and civic rights, obligations and duties. Perhaps this is the result of the highly religious nature of the average Nigerian. Time has come for Nigerians to begin to assert themselves positively on issues and events that affect them. They have been short-changed over the years in several respects. In the economic front, such short-changing takes different forms; arbitrary price increases, substandard goods and services, and several other aspects. They just watch things go by, like spectators, in matters they should have control over. They are not known for positive overt actions that could change things for the better. They are usually fatalistic. It is hoped that this attitude will change in the course of time. With respect to broadcasting, the diverse audiences of broadcast materials (the general public) should begin to assert themselves and make positive contributions to broadcast programming. A cable station in one of the states in the South East of Nigeria was known for poor services. Subscribers to its scrambled retransmission services were complaining all over the city the station was located. Some days the station would not be on. The station would not apologise for being off-air and there is no effort to make good, at least to compensate subscribers. At other times only a few of its channels were on. Yet its subscribers pay monthly subscription fees. And when payment was due, a subscriber would be immediately scrambled if he defaults for one day. No effort is made to make good for the loss in services suffered by the subscriber. Subscribers who complained were told that the station only experienced technical problems which are natural and therefore the station owed no obligation to compensate subscribers. Subscribers to such a cable station should complain to the NBC and even come together and sue such a cable station. 124


Where any programme transmitted on radio or television stations injured their sense of decency or religious sensibilities, or where they considered any broadcast material to be in bad faith, they should protest to the stations concerned and demand apologies in addition to a promise to desist from a repeat in future. Where the station fails to do so, they can petition the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, for redress. Infact, any individual who feels seriously injured by a station's programme or conduct has access to the courts of law if unsatisfied with NBC's decision against the erring station. Where citizens become active in this way, broadcasting stations will begin to exercise reasonable care in their programming. As media consumers, members of the public should assert their right to participate actively in awarding and renewing broadcast licenses and in setting programmes policies and standards. 5. Consumer Advocate or Public Interest Groups: In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a proliferation of human rights groups. Some of these groups are said to be fraudulent, dubious and self serving. Infact, human rights activism is considered to be one of some Nigerians' ingenious short-cuts to individual social status and relevance. Almost all of such groups have political characteristics, or rather, dwell on the political aspects of human rights. The result is that the Nigerian public has been helpless in the claws of economic predators. Thus, even where some multinational and indigenous manufacturers of food, drinks, drugs and other products, arbitrarily and inexcusably increased the prices of their products, there were no consumer advocate groups to come to the rescue of the long-suffering, poor citizens, whose patience and pockets have long been overstretched. Even government's various attempts to set up consumer protection bodies have almost always recorded success only in the pages of policy statements. Nigeria needs consumer interest groups. In any case, economic rights are human rights. There are several areas of consumer interests protection; prices of goods, quality of goods and services, indecent advertising etc. The audiences (or consumers) of broadcast materials transmitted by broadcasting stations deserve some protection. These consumer interest groups can help protect the interests of different audiences by monitoring broadcast materials to ensure that they fulfill their social responsibilities. Viewers and listeners to broadcast materials must learn to distinguish and discriminate between propaganda and facts and to evaluate their meaning and the motives of the producer. Audiences should be vigilant and resist subtle sentimental emotion-rousing broadcast materials that promote religious bigotry , tribal hatred and other base sentiments. 6. Stations' Periodic Monitoring of their Audiences' Impressions on their programmes: Programmes are transmitted by stations to satisfy the audiences within their respective areas of coverage. The goodwill of the audiences of a broadcast station's programmes and indeed of the general public, is crucial to every broadcasting organisation. To forestall or avoid public outrage or 125


disaffection, a station should carry members of the public, especially its immediate audiences of its programmes, along. We suggest that stations should periodically feel the pulse of the public to know how they feel about programmes transmitted by them (the stations). That way, the public's expectations, tastes and interests would govern the station's programme contents and outputs. Generally, broadcasting stations should realize that without the members of the public who listen to and watch their programmes, they cannot be in business. Therefore, they owe the public a responsibility to ensure that public interest is not compromised, for as Justice White of the US Supreme Court rightly observed, "it is the right of viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is 50 paramount" HOW TO PROCEED WITH REGISTERING DISPLEASURE WITH AN INJURIOUS BROADCAST MATERIAL TO SEEK REDRESS OR TO INITIATE THE IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS ON ERRING STATIONS. Having discussed the social control of broadcasting, we deem it important that people should know how to go about complaining either to the erring stations or to the relevant authorities for remedies or redress or for adequate sanctions to be brought to bear on the stations concerned. Nicholas Johnson, in his book "How to Talk Back to your Television Set,51 made a brilliant attempt to spell out a procedure for complaints about injurious broadcast materials. He wrote: "In order to get relief from legal institutions (the NBC or courts of law) one must assert, first, the factual basis for the grievance and the specific parties involved; second, the legal principle that indicates relief is due (constitutional provisions, the National Broadcasting Commission Decree, the National Broadcasting Code, court decisions, NBC decisions etc); and third, the precise remedy sought (new legislation, review of relevant area of existing legislation, 52 revocation of license, fines, cease or desist order etc)" . A graphic representation of the procedure laid out by Nicholas Johnson would appear thus: 1. The factual basis for the grievance and the specific parties involved: The complainant must state what particular broadcast material or conduct that injures him, and also the station that transmitted the injurious material. Such other details as time, date and title of the programme should also be stated. 2. The Legal Principle that Indicates Relief is Due: The complainant should state the relevant laws constitutional provisions, regulations or any other instrument which makes the alleged injurious broadcast or part thereof an offense. A statement of the complainant's right that is violated as a result, must be stated.

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3. The precise remedy sought: The complainant must state what remedy he wants the relevant authorities to effect; does he want the NBC, for instance, to revoke the station's license outright, in view of the enormity of the offense? Or does the complainant want the NBC to simply call the erring station to order? The complainant should state exactly what remedy he seeks from the relevant authorities. In the National Broadcasting Code, the NBC sets out ethical standards for the broadcast industry in technical and programming areas. The Commission sets standards of professionalism, cohesion, national security, the sanctity of family values, human dignity and the recognition of the national goal and values of society as well as of religious and natural sensibilities of the different audiences of broadcast materials. In particular, stations are to avoid transmitting materials that are capable of inciting the public to disorder. Sanctions will be imposed on stations that are in breach of the body of standards. The NBC recognises that its task of monitoring stations (to ensure that they comply with the rules governing the industry) will be difficult without public vigilance; it expects the public to also monitor the conduct and activities of broadcast stations and to report any offensive or injurious materials broadcast by licensed stations. To this end, the NBC draws up its sanctioning procedure. NBC's Sanctioning Procedure: Where any individual, group of persons or organisation observes or detects any breach of laid-down broadcast standards or any broadcast material transmitted by a station containing offensive or injurious materials, details of such conduct should be compiled and forwarded to the National Broadcasting Commission. Such complaint, by the provisions of the broadcasting code, must contain the following: a. b. c. d. e.

Name of the station Title of the (offensive) programme Day and date of the broadcast Time of the broadcast and The essence of the complaint or observation, e.g. absence of fairness, or presence of bias, obscenity etc.

The NBC on receiving such complaints will proceed to investigate it and where necessary take appropriate action by way of applying appropriate sanctions against the erring station. NBC'S SANCTIONS

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The National Broadcasting Code defines sanctions as 'a punishment and/or any enforcement measure applied to any breach of the code." The Code defines a breach as 'any action, inaction or non-compliance with any provision of the Broadcasting Code on the part of any broadcast operator, whether licensed or unlicensed". The code further provides that 'each breach of the Code shall constitute a separate offence". The Code categorises breaches programme breaches.

into two, namely, Technical breaches and

1. Technical Breaches; As set out in the code, the following elements or conducts will constitute technical breaches that will attract NBC's sanctions; i. ii.

iii. iv. v. vi. vii viii. 2. i. ii.

Transmitting without a valid, or any license Offering for sale, selling or having possession for the purpose of sale, any installation, mechanism, instrument, materials or other apparatus constructed for the purpose of or intended to be used for broadcast for public reception without a license, in that behalf. (By this provision it appears that any individual or organisation that desires to undertake the sale of broadcast materials, equipment, mechanism, etc. as spelt out above must first apply for and be granted a license to do so by the NBC. Failure to acquire the license to do so makes the business illegal). Deviation from assigned frequency. Transmitting beyond assigned area Operating a transmitter above power without the approval of the Commission or poor quality of transmission within assigned boundary Breach of approved technical specification of broadcast equipment Breach of installation and safety specifications, and Operating a broadcast station without a designated COREN-registered engineer. Programme Breaches: The code classifies the following as programme breaches: Failure to comply with the requirements of section 6.1 of the code which deals with stations' compulsory compliance with the code in its entirety. Contravention of any, some or all of the following sections of the code: section 2.2.6. (on good taste and decency of programmes); section 2.2.2. (on morality and social values); sections 2.3.1. to 2.3.10 (on children's programmes); section 2. 6. (on educational and cultural programmes); section 2.8.1. (on coverage of public events); section 2.2.3. (on accuracy, objectivity and fairness); section 2.2.4 (on integrity of programmes) section 3.4.1. (on content and scheduling of sponsored programmes); Section 2.4. (on political broadcasts); section 2.5. (on religious 128


programmes); section 2.7. (on news and public affairs programmes); and section 4 (on advertising). Infact, the whole of Chapters Two, Three and Four of the Code fall under this category. Other aspects of programme breaches include Broadcast of information immediately leading or likely to lead, to a breakdown of law and order Non-compliance with closure or broadcast hour reduction order Non-compliance with the following sections of the Third Schedule of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992. They are: Section 1 (tenure of license); section 2 (procedure of application for license renewal); section 5 (contents of a license schedule, synopsis and local contents of programmes); section 6 (keeping of log book stating transmitted programmes) and section 7 (periodic inspection of stations by the inspectorate staff of the NBC); Non-compliance with section 3, 4 and 8 of the Third Schedule of the Broadcasting Commission Decree. These sections deal with conditions for transferring license, provision on one-license-one-station and conducts that may lead to outright revocation of licenses, respectively.

iii. iv. v.

vi.

Understanding and compliance with these categories of breaches by stations operators are crucial. Only full compliance by stations can keep the NBC's big stick at bay. The technical staff of broadcast stations should know the technical breaches above while the programmes department should be made to fully understand and apply the rules on programming and avoid any breach. Generally, the management and entire staff of stations should understand the rules of the industry and individually and collectively avoid the forbidden technical and programme breaches. CLASSES OF SANCTIONS The NBC classifies sanctions into grades A and B, according to the gravity of offences. Grade A sanctions are applied in cases of very serious breaches, while grade B sanctions are invoked in less serious circumstances. Grade A sanctions take the following forms: -

immediate shut down / seal up of the station's transmitter and installations Seizure or forfeiture of the transmitting equipment; and Withdrawal of license, if any.

The following offences fall under grade A sanctions. They are: 1. Transmission without license issued by the NBC 2. Intentional deviation from assigned frequencies 3. Offering for sale, selling or having possession for the purpose of sale, any 129


4. 5.

6. 7. 8.

installation, mechanism, instrument, materials or other apparatus constructed for broadcasting for public reception without a license in that behalf. Broadcast of information immediately leading, or likely to lead to a breakdown of law and order Contravention of the provisions of the code on Right of reply (right of reply is guaranteed, within 24 hours, to persons or groups who claim misrepresentation); political broadcasts; religious programmes; news and public affairs programmes and non-sponsorship of newscast see section 2 of the code. Contravention of sections 1 to 4 of the Third Schedule to the broadcasting decree. Non-compliance with closure / broadcast order whenever issued by the NBC, and Non compliance with section 8 of the Third Schedule of the broadcasting decree.

Under Group B, the following sanctions are applicable: Written warning to remedy a breach within a specific time frame. Failure to comply with the warning attracts a reduction of the daily broadcast hours or suspension of license. Payment of recommencement / restoration fee ranging from fifty thousand naira (N50,000.00) to two hundred and fifty thousand naira (N250,000.00). The following offences fall under Group B category. They are; 1. Deviation from assigned frequency due to equipment or system failure 2. Deviation from assigned frequency causing harmful interference 3. Transmission beyond assigned area 4. Operating a transmitter above the specified transmission power 5. Poor quality transmission within assigned transmission area. 6. Breach of approved specification 7. Breach of installation and safety specification 8. Operating without a COREN- registered engineer 9. Contravention of code provisions in the following respects, namely; good taste, decency, accuracy, objectivity and fairness; Integrity, authenticity, morality and social values; crime, law and order; violence; cruelty and horror; children programmes, regulations on advertising, etc. 10. Non-compliance with sections 5,6 and 7 of the Third Schedule to the broadcasting decree. 11. A maximum of 60% foreign and minimum of 40% local content in programming for radio and television stations and a minimum of 20% local content for cable/satellite redistribution 130


stations. PROCEDURE FOR IMPOSITION OF SANCTIONS Under chapter 5 of the National Broadcasting Code Sanctions and Enforcement procedure enacted and published by the NBC, the Commission will adopt the following procedures, in the process of applying sanctions on erring broadcasting stations. First, where the Commission in course of its monitoring activities detects a breach of the broadcast code, or where there is a complaint by a member of the public, or a group of persons or organization(s), against a station, and on investigation the Commission found the complaint to merit sanctions, the Commission will serve the licensee an order to show cause why a revocation or a 'cease or desist" order or injunction (that is, a warning) should not be issued depending on the gravity of the offence. Second, where the NBC is not satisfied with the licensee's defense, the Commission may proceed with a public hearing. At the end of hearing (having given all parties concerned the opportunity to defend themselves) the NBC would then decide whether or not the alleged breach did occur and whether or not to impose sanctions as provided in the code. It is suggested here that the NBC should keep detailed records of its decisions in every case. This is necessary should the licensee feel aggrieved by the decision of the Commission and seek redress in the courts of law where he may pray the courts to quash the decision of the Commission for failing to follow certain binding legal framework, safeguards or procedures. Such records could also serve as precedents to future members of the Commission and as a guide or deterrent to stations. It is hoped that the NBC would seldom find occasion to apply the sanctions provided both in the code and the broadcasting decree. This ideal situation can only exist where broadcasting stations conduct themselves very well and avoid acts that could necessitate the imposition of sanctions. Cordial relationship between the NBC and licensed stations will do the industry considerable good. Licensed stations, the NBC, government, the listening and viewing public and the nation in general, will all benefit immensely from such cordial relationship. MEDIA OWNERSHIP AND CONTROL "‌It is clear that responsibility for the conduct of a broadcast station must rest initially with the broadcaster. It is equally clear that with the limitations in frequencies inherent in the nature of radio (and television), the public interest can never be served by a dedication of any broadcast facility to the support of partisan ends. Radio (and television) can serve as an instrument of democracy only when 131


devoted to the communication of information and the exchange of ideas fairly and objectively presented. It cannot be used to support the candidacies of his friends. It cannot be devoted to the support of principles he happens to regard most favourably. In brief the broadcaster cannot be an advocate" - In the matter of Mayflower Broadcasting Corporation and the Yankee Network Inc. (WAAB)8 FCC 333, 338 (1948). Nigeria's broadcast system should adopt the Fairness Doctrine which ensures balance or fair coverage of controversial issues of public importance in a community, and the Equal Opportunity Doctrine which ensures that political candidates are given equal airtime on the media. The electromagnetic (frequency) spectrum forms part of a nation's natural resources. It is public property and accordingly must be operated in the public interest. And every broadcast licensee (be it government or private individual or organisation) is a trustee of public interest. And "It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters which is paramount. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, aesthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here"51. It is not the owner's right, not the broadcaster's right that is paramount, but the right of the public, to whom belong the broadcast frequency, to receive suitable access to social, political, aesthetic, moral and other ideas which is crucial in broadcasting. Thus broadcast stations must recognise their legal and moral obligation to present contrary or opposing views to a broadcast content of a controversial or political nature. They must allow the expression of every tendency, every movement, every segment of society. They must not be servants of power. And they must tell truth to power. They must recognise that they are powerful social factors. They must recognise their responsibility to afford opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance. They must resist any attempt by government or private agents to influence their broadcast contents in anyway, particularly to slant news or programmes in his favour, so as to achieve political advantage over the opposition. They must dwell on social vices, expose fraud, influence society positively, change wrong beliefs, discourage prejudices, stereotypes, fanatism, ethnicism and bigotry, encourage positive individual aspirations to accomplish great heights, encourage hardwork, provide the people entertainment to lighten their spirits, give hope in the face of hardship and uncertainty, guide in times of confusion, celebrate deserved success, encourage charity and preach peace. Indeed broadcasters have the responsibility to lift the nation to new heights - to new social, moral, cultural and political heights. They must defend the defenceless, the weak, the oppressed. They must insist on the religious observance of the rule of law, good governance, accountability and transparency in governance. They must recognise their 132


responsibility to create positive national agenda and compel the nation to follow it. They must jettison preference for bad and scandalous news and must ensure that news reports must be fair and balanced. In programming they must ensure that the needs of society define their content. In the words of Bernard Rubin; "Television (and radio) educates but drowns its education in entertainment. It entertains but provides all sorts of accidental education. It seduces with innuendos about the good life. It tempts with its barrage of prosperity images. It aggravates by dramatically magnifying the problems we face. It pretends that there are simple solutions to complex issues. Nevertheless, television can establish national solidarity and community when talented educators, entertainers or advocates use the medium effectively."52 (underlining supplied) The history of the media in Nigeria (both print and broadcast media) shows that at different times of the nation's history the media were used by their owners (both government and private owners) to advance their own interests (see Chapter Three of this book). In almost all cases they were used as propaganda tools. In the colonial era the print was used to serve the interests of the colonial government. A few who initially opposed and criticized the colonial government could not sustain themselves as the government that could be depended upon for patronage would naturally not support newspapers that opposed it. And there were hardly alternative sources of revenue as there were only a few educated colonial subjects who would support, buy and read such papers. And advertising revenue was very rare. Thus it was an unwritten rule of "support for survival". It was only in early th 20 Century, particularly between the Thirties and Fifties that radical newspapers flourished, collaborated and co-operated in their united resolve to crush colonial rule. But they would soon go their different ways to become political organs. Thus tribal and party loyalties defined newspaper publications in Nigeria. Post independence newspapers dwelt for a brief period on national development and the protection of minority rights. Soon, however, sectional interests took the place of nation-building and everyone tended to go his own way. The civil war years magnified the propaganda relevance of the media. Thereafter, military rule and the desire of successive dictators to hold on to power turned the media into yet another period of propaganda usage. Media managers condescended and even helped to magnify dictators to larger than life personages. By 1979 leaders at different levels of government failed to make a distinction between "government" and "the ruling party". Thus, the media were turned into organs of the political party in power at different levels. State governments, controlled by parties different from the party at the centre established their own broadcasting stations and used the stations for their own interests and the interest of their political parties. This situation prompted the Guild of Editors meeting in Calabar in 1980 to say: 133


"the use of the media as exclusive propaganda organ of incumbent governors and their parties is a serious misuse of power and abuse of 53 office" Thus, the use of the media as propaganda organs by all levels of government is principally and substantially to blame for the political problems that plagued Nigeria in the Second Republic which led to the intervention of the Military in 1984. During the political crisis of 1992 to 1993, the media were used by different political parties and government at different levels for their own interests. Through these periods almost every government attempted to silence the opposition. Incumbent governments and their officials refused to allow public owned media houses in their control to broadcast the views or legitimate activities of the opposition. What was news was what government in control of the state defined as news. So, broadcast stations dwelt on government, its activities, and officials. No conflicting opinion or views was allowed on the airwaves and the audiences of these stations were wearied and worried. So, when the opportunity for cable / satellite stations such as the CNN, and other international stations presented itself, Nigerians who could afford it jumped at the opportunity. This unfortunately reinforced "cultural imperialism" which even government had complained about. The privatisation or liberalization of the broadcast media by the Babangida Administration in 1992, provided a relief for the people. But would they deliver good programming in their content? Would they be different from their government owned predecessors? HOW THINGS STAND Inspite of the efforts of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to regulate how all broadcast stations (both public and private) use the airwaves, some stations, particularly some stations owned by state governments, have been misused and abused by incumbent officials. The Director-General of the NBC, Dr. Silas Yisa has complained that some broadest stations across the country are leaning towards favouring incumbency in their broadcast outputs. Recognising the role of the media especially of the broadcast media in a democracy, Dr. Yisa said: "‌we in the media industry are determined not to be blamed for any failure of the 54 new democratic experiment" . Are the governments who use the media in this way aware of the implications of what they are doing? Do they know that they threaten our "democratic experiment" by their actions? Do they remind themselves that the position they 134


hold today will not be forever, and that the same way they are using the media against others, when they themselves leave power, others may use it in the same way against them in future? Supposing a future incumbent accuses them of misrule or embezzlement during their incumbency, using the state-owned media, and refuses them access to the same media to defend themselves? It is time for all concerned; all levels of government, the NBC, the different registered political parties, the opposition, experts and indeed the general public to seek solutions to this problem. Despite the NBC's elaborate provisions on equal airtime to political parties and related matters in the National Broadcasting Code, stations (especially government-owned stations) have remained unrepentant as some state governments have turned the public media houses under their control to propaganda organs and consequently stifling the opposition. Earlier, we told the true story of how the Chief Executive of a state directed that the state-owned media houses should not carry any news of the opposition party that came to the state he was the governor, for presidential campaigns, preparatory to elections in 1993. Sometimes, some station managers of these government stations, without influence or solicitation by the officials of government, turned the stations into official mouthpiece of government and the party in control of government. They usually do this to gain some favour from the incumbent government officials, especially to keep their jobs. Even some private stations have joined the train. Some news correspondents only have interest in government related news. Most times they do this for financial gains. Any news item that does not promise some financial handouts or other rewards is killed. At the end of every state or private event of some importance, you would find some journalists falling over each other for brown envelops. The print media appears to be even more guilty of this. Sometimes when correspondents sent stories to the head office, especially if it had stories on important events concerning the general public, the editor would not publish the news if there was no accompanying financial inducement. Where such inducement do not accompany the story, some editors would call the correspondent and say 'hey, this news stinks of money" and would demand money from the correspondent. Where the latter failed, the editor would kill the news. Even the broadcast media is part of this trend, especially the networks. The attitude is "no money no broadcast". It is so bad that even in crime reporting, Police State Commands are daily inundated with demands by some journalists for money before they publish a story - usually these are highly news-worthy materials. So, important stories are killed by news editors when such stories are not accompanied with financial inducements. The only category of news they broadcast or publish are the kind that the newsmakers can pay for, such as government and its agencies and officials. In the process, very important issues of public interest are daily ignored because there are no ready sponsors to put them in the news. Broadcast stations have turned the media into elitist channels. But in a truly democratised media regime, the people should have a voice, as many people 135


as possible, even among the lowest social ladder. Perhaps one reason for the concentration of attention on government is the fact that we are yet to have a very developed advertising industry. Thus, even private stations now dwell mostly on political issues, especially incumbent governments (at state and federal levels) from whom they make considerable revenue. Unfortunately, news has been commercialised. We make bold to say here that broadcast media in Nigeria are not helping Nigerians develop useful skills, profound understanding and analytical abilities on economic and international issues. Broadcast stations usually waste useful airtime on analysis of football (sometimes for a whole hour!). Corresponding time is not even given to any other sport. Thus our children are now very good at football analysis while they lack and are not encouraged to learn vital aspects of economics, the intricate complexities of international relations, topical social issues, history, science and technology, the stock exchange, etc. Football analysis has become the pastime of our children and adults alike and it is distracting needed intellectual development. We call on the NBC to correct this trend. Something is wrong with a nation that puts the game of football ahead of its very important national issues. The practice where national news is interrupted by our television network for live transmission of European Champions League or Premier League, as happens regularly in Nigeria, is setting wrong priorities. Is this politically motivated to turn the attention of the people away from important national issues that concern them, especially unbecoming political behaviour and harsh economic realities that drag them below the poverty line? Whatever the motivation, this practice is demeaning to our national pride and dignity, and would tend to put us as a nation in the league of the unserious. HOW CAN STATE OWNED STATIONS BE COMPELLED TO COMPLY WITH THE EQUAL AIRTIME RULE In our opinion, it was a very serious oversight that the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992 failed to provide for the equal airtime rule. Indeed this should be embodied in the constitution. To leave it as it is today, to the NBC to legislate and enforce, is not sufficient. It should not be just a statutory provision. It should be entrenched in the constitution, as in Ghana. Article 55 (12) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, provides that: "All Presidential candidates shall be given the same amount of time and space on the state owned media to present their programmes to the people" And Article 163 of the same Constitution states that: 136


"All state owned media shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions". Nigeria should make similar but stronger provisions in the constitution. For if it is agreed that the partisan use of the media has over the years contributed to the delay in the evolution of a permanent democratic system in the country, if it is true that the media played a leading role in the political crises of the past when they lent themselves to politicians, particularly to incumbent governors and other levels of government who misused and abused them, then it should become a very important issue deserving a place of priority in our constitution. The constitution should provide for fair and equal opportunities and facilities for presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions for all political groups and shades of opinion, by all media. The rule should bind all media houses whether privately or state-owned, whether print, radio, television or any other electronic media. And it should be made illegal for any President, Commander-in-Chief, or any incumbent governor or state official to convert the public owned media under his control to a political organ. The NBC should be sufficiently empowered to enforce the rule and all of its other regulatory activities. To fail to do this is to ignore history with the potential proverbial mistake of stumbling twice over the same stone. Perhaps it is important and necessary to immunize and insulate managers and the Board of Directors of public-owned media houses (print, radio, television) from government control (whether federal, state or local government). Public-owned media houses should be well-structured to ensure that succession is smooth and uninterrupted. Management of stations should grow from the ranks of the staff. Stations should be run as full civil service institutions. A situation where every successive government sacks the Chief Executive of a broadcast station and appoints its own candidate to that position, promotes undue loyalty as such appointees were beholden to the government or officials that appointed them. Therefore, we suggest that the Management and Board of all public-owned stations including the NTA, FRCN, VON and all media houses owned by state governments be insulated from government control. So should the DirectorGeneral and Board members of the National Broadcasting Commission. These institutions should be apolitical. Political affiliation of the Management and Board members of these institutions should be made illegal. Indeed, it is time to sterilize the media in Nigeria to zap the viruses that have weakened their immunity and made them prostrate with misuse and abuse. In 1993, the Supreme Court of Ghana was called upon to interpret the constitutional provision on the right of equal access to the media; the right of all political parties to a fair opportunity to present their programmes to the public. 56 Facts and History In January 1993, the government of the provisional National Defence Council in 137


Ghana presented a budget for 1993 on radio and television. The presentation which was made by the then Secretary for Finance, Dr. Kwesi Botchwey came under severe criticism. He appeared again on radio and television on 23 and 24 January 1993 to vigorously defend his budget proposals. Dr. Kwesi Botchwey was a member of the National Democratic Congress, a registered political party that apparently sponsored his appearance on television. The National Democratic Congress was a political party of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), that is the ruling machinery of the military junta. The Defendant which provided ample airtime for the defence of the budget was a state-owned media house. The Plaintiff instituted an action in the Supreme Court of Ghana, for declarations that the defendant as a state-owned media has a duty to afford fair opportunities and facilities for presentation of its views, even when they were anti-government or different from those held by the National Democratic Congress; and that the refusal by the defendant to do so was a violation and contravention of the Constitution. The Plaintiff also sought an order directing the defendant to comply with the provisions of the constitution by directing the defendant corporation to afford the New Patriotic Party equal air time to present its views of the 1993 Budget as accorded the National Democratic Congress on 23 and 24 of January, 1993. In course of reaching a just decision on the matter, the Supreme Court of Ghana considered in extensio Articles 55(11), (12); 163, 21(1) and 33(5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. On 22 July 1993, the relief sought by the Plaintiffs were unanimously granted and reasons reserved for a later date. Issues: 1.

Whether under articles 55(1) and 163 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the Plaintiff was entitled to demand that the defendant corporation provide airtime for the dissemination of its views on controversial national matters similar in extent and scope as was accorded the government spokesman of the 1993 budget.

2.

Whether a failure by the defendant corporation to grant those facilities constituted a violation of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. Held, unanimously granted the declarations.

In his erudite lead judgement, Francois JSC laid out the basis and ramifications of the equal access and fair opportunity rule. He said: " ‌ 138


It seems clear, that the constitution spells out unambiguously a primary objective of making information readily available to allow for valued judgements from all its citizenry. This desired result, is only possible if there is a free ventilation of views, which the imperative 'shall' in article 163 places as a duty on all state media. Clearly, there is no discretion in the matter. To withhold this right is an interference with the freedom of the people and a violation of the constitution. A contrary conclusion would mean a right given to persons, bodies or institutions, to exercise a censorship which could block avenues for thought and foreclose the citizen's right of choice. "The issue really is not whether party A is allowed to score over party B, in a political broadcast; it is not a debating exercise. The issue is whether the people of this country have been given adequate opportunity to know and evaluate viable alternatives. The defendant, belonging to the state media, then has a positive duty to promote the dissemination of alternative views. If it fails in this duty and proceeds further to deny the articulation of alternative views, its transgression becomes two-fold; as a state media house, and contrary to what was expressly required of it by the constitution, it has refused to feed the citizenry of this country with all the facts, and has mischievously denied the citizens the knowledge which was being offered on a silver platter. "It is pertinent to observe that in the comity of nations where the democratic order secures the highest place of honour in the social fabric, the freedom of exchanging information and ideas appears to occupy the noblest point in the social scheme and serves as an essential pivot. Some random views expressed on this theme elsewhere, would not be out of place here. Justice White of the US Supreme Court has said: ' It is the right of the viewers and listeners, not the right of the broadcasters, which is paramount. It is the right of the public to receive suitable access to social, political, aesthetic, moral and other ideas and experiences which is crucial here'. "The Supreme Court has also said: 'speech concerning public affairs is more than self-expression, it is the essence of self-government'. Justice Cardozo, an eminent jurist of the US Supreme Court, has stated: 'of that freedom one may say that it is the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom'. The conclusion then is that debate cannot be stifled in a democratic society. This does not mean that freedom of speech should be extended to unbridled excesses. The loud license of the market place has no acceptance here. There are constitutional 139


safeguards reflected in our laws to curb libel and other violations of the law as alluded to before. These should suffice. It is noteworthy the US Supreme Court should hold that: 'a society prefers to punish the few who abuse rights of speech after they break the law than throttle them and all others before hand. It is always difficult to know in advance what an individual will say and the line between legitimate speech is often so finely drawn that the risks of freewheeling censorship are formidable'. Accordingly the US courts have declared: 'Any system of prior restraints of expression comes to this court bearing a 57 heavy presumption against its constitutional validity.' "Those words should be underscored. They should be observed by the state media as a constant guide and constitute their creed and testament. "Some people, wielding excessive power often deflect criticism of their autocratic excesses with reflections on the impracticability of pursuing absolute freedom. They warn of anarchical results if pure, unalloyed freedom is sought. They are the apostles of the discipline that dictates that the enjoyment of freedom is always at a price; and only strictly regulated freedom with the surrender of a substantial portion of it, can rationally safeguard what remains for its full and wholesome enjoyment. Alas, how often is falsehood dressed in plausible garb. The curbs and fetters to freedom are well known. They have been expounded by philosophers in scholarly treatises through the ages. There is no warrant for contracting further the frontiers of restraint to suffocatingly imprison our natural birthright. The safeguarding of our national security or of public order and public morality is restated in article 164 of the constitution as referred to before. The parameters should not be expanded outside the limits of the constitution. Turning to a practical and common sense point of view, the free exchange of views is necessary to give the electorate an opportunity to assess the performance of the government in power as against the potential of the opposition in the wilderness. It keeps a government on its toes and gives the neutral, apolitic citizen an opportunity to make up his mind either to consign the disenchanted noises he hears around, to mere rabid ranting that proceed from electoral defeat or give it the evocative distinction of demonstrating the quality that unfortunately missed the boat through bad electoral judgment, and therefore deserving a second chance at the next ballot. In a truly democratic environment this testing ground is a sine qua non to the survival of a free, pluralist society. "‌ where a media created as a public agency, to secure for the citizens of this country information, rather withholds it, contrary to the adjuration in articles 163 and 21(1) (f), it is willfully violating the constitution. The measure of reprehensibility becomes more gravely acute when such suppression betrays a 140


partisan motive. The constitution demands that a broad and liberal spirit of democratic pluralism should prevail in this country. It in effect accepts previous failures in the constitutional experiment and consequently attempts an all embracing liberal framework that would include all possible shades of freedom not specifically or expressly mentioned but which are essential cogs to enhance the driving capacity of a truly freewheeling democracy. "A denial of opportunity for the expression of opposing views, inherent in a democracy, would amount to moves which may culminate in the creation of a monolithic government which is only one step embodied from a one party government. There is historical precedent of such a retrogressive descent. Obviously any state agency which fosters the situation that would lead to the creation of a one party state, is seriously out of step with the spirit and constitutional realism of today. It would be sailing too closely for comfort to the winds of treasonable enterprise. Homespurn wisdom may not be out of place here. An incipient boil starts from the tiniest of pimples. The gargantuan size of some ailments which afflict our society today, had stealthily grown from small, and undetected beginnings. So in political life, be they revolutionary or evolutionary, except that in the former, speed is of the essence and the latter, restraint. It is clear that the dictates of experience have compelled the constitution makers to draw on the amplitude of our past history, to lay down strictures that would arrest the slightest deviations from constitutionalism. Manifestations that would have the potential of burgeoning into intractable evils which would ultimately undermine the constitution and toll the knell of the fourth brave democratic effort, must be placed under the judicial microscope. It is the court's constitutional duty in upholding the fundamental law to strike down tendencies towards one-party state or a dictatorship, however minuscule the blot may first appear. This is in keeping with the spirit. Consequently, any act of the state media that smacks of party bias or fits the description of unexamined adulation, would be the incipient pimple which this court must view with the gravest suspicion if our duty as defenders of the constitution is to be honourably discharged. "Any institution made up of citizens with equal rights and ostensibly shared ideals, which today arrogates to itself superior powers outside normal legal constraints, and outside the parameters of the constitution, to foist on to the rest of the citizenry, their perception of what is or is not politically digestible, infringes a fundamental right of the citizenry of this country. That act would constitute a flagrant and 58 naked usurpation of the citizen's rights and a patent violation of the constitution" Concurring with the delicious lead judgment of the erudite Francois JSC, as did the other eminent jurists of the Supreme Court of Ghana, Amua Sekki, JSC, said: " 'Equal access' means the same or identical terms and conditions for gaining entry into the state-owned media for the purpose of presenting their 141


political, economic and social programmes to the electorate, and persuading them to vote for them in both parliamentary and Presidential elections. This means that the same time or space must be given to each political party, large or small, and if fees are payable, that they should be the same for all. The officers of the stateowned media have no discretion in the matter. The reason is simple enough: the state owned media are national assets; they belong to the entire community, not to the abstraction known as the state nor to the government in office nor to its party. If such national assets were to become the mouthpiece of any one or the combination of parties vying for power, democracy would be no more than a sham. In a democracy, the right of the individual to form or join political parties, and of the parties to participate in shaping the political will of the people and to disseminate political, economic and social ideas and programmes are not rights which are enjoyed by the people only when elections are about to take place. They are inalienable rights which the constitution guarantees for all and which the courts are required to protect. As far as our law is concerned, it is irrelevant that the party or its candidate secured only a handful of votes or none at all at the last elections; so long as it remains a registered political party it is entitled to be heard, and the constitution says that, as far as the state-owned media are concerned, it shall have equal access with any other political party. One may ask, how is the state to ensure that all political parties have equal access to the stateowned media? I believe it can do so in two ways, one positively and the other negatively. Positively, by inserting in the instruments of incorporation of the stateowned media a requirement that they grant equal access to all political parties; negatively, by refraining from interfering in the day-to-day running of the media. "The objective is the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions, and that means, the granting of fair opportunities and facilities. The duty is placed fully and squarely on the editors and management of such media who, like those in charge of privately owned ones, have been given a measure of protection from control or interference by government. The word 'fair' means 'free from bias'. It is sometimes synonymous with the word 'equal'. What the constitution requires of the editors and management of the state-owned media is that they be impartial, showing neither affection for, nor ill-will towards any particular group in the community, be it political, economic or social. Their facilities being national assets, should be available to all. "Any abuse or misapplication of the discretionary power given to them may be corrected by the Media Commission or the courts. The democratic tradition that divergent views and dissenting opinions be given free expression may be summed up in the words Tallentyre used to describe the attitude of Voltaire on the burning of Helvetius De L'esprit in 1759: 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it'. History abounds with examples where those in authority were so sure they were right that they regard dissent as subversive. The reformation was preceded by the burning of heretics, and followed by the 142


persecution of papists. The temptation to ride roughshod over the opinions of others must be resisted; for it is only by the free flow of ideas and discussion that error is exposed, truth vindicated and liberty preserved"59 Aikins JSC also stated that: "Indiscriminate control of the mass media by the government of the day may contribute a serious obstacle in the full realization of the objective of the media in achieving its freedom and independence which is effectively guaranteed by the constitution. "The courts must not only condemn any practice of discrimination, but also insist on the observation of the principle of fair opportunity and equality of access to the media. The media is the pivot of public information, and through them the people must be appraised of economic and social issues of the day by the political parties without any control of one party over the other in the context of enjoying more privileges under the constitution. A party in government must not be held to enjoy absolutist power over the state media."60 We have quoted copiously and extensively from this Ghananian authority so as to provide our legislative and executive arms as well as the judiciary with a road map to the solution of recurring misuse of the media by different levels of governments using the power of incumbency to deny the opposition access to the media and so denying the citizenry their right to information. We insist that the right way for Nigeria to go is to entrench in the constitution the right of equal access and equal opportunities to the media, to all shades of opinion and views and to all political parties, and to insulate and immunize all management of media organizations and editors, as well as the National Broadcasting Commission's Director General and the Board of the Commission from government control and influence. COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS OF THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) DECREE NO. 55 OF 1999. The broadcasting industry is dynamic. And private broadcasting is relatively young in Nigeria. Thus the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has had to learn gradually responding to changes, accommodating progressive developments and has embraced and is playing the mid-wife role, nursing the industry to responsible growth. In 1999, the Federal Military Government under the leadership of General Abdulsalami Abubakar promulgated the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree No. 55. The Decree was meant to strengthen broadcasting in 143


Nigeria and to broaden the role of the NBC and enable the Commission play its regulatory duties effectively. The Decree was an amendment of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992. The 1999 Decree has eleven sections. Section 1 states that the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992 "is amended as set out in this Decree". Section 2 amends section 2(1) of the "principal Decree" the 1992 Decree, as follows: -

It substitutes for paragraphs (b) of section 2 (1) of the 1992 Decree, some new paragraphs which expands the NBC's role. The NBC now has the responsibilities of: "(b) receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations, including:

i.

Cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting, Radio and television stations owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or Local Government". It also amends paragraph (d) of the principal decree by substituting the word "broadcast", with the word "broadcasting".

ii.

While the 1992 Decree empowered the NBC to carry on its regulatory responsibilities by: "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 section 2 (1) (b) - the 1999 Decree appears to widen the powers of the NBC. The NBC is now empowered to carry on its responsibilities by:"receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations". (italics supplied). Note here the addition of two words, namely, "establishment" and "operation", which appears to clear any ambiguities as to the ramifications of NBC's regulatory powers and tends to bring all broadcasting activities from the period of application for the license to the period the station is being established and throughout the period the station is in operation, under the NBC. Perhaps the conjunction "and" should have been used instead of "or" to read "ownership and operation". By the provision of section 1 (2) (b) (ii) of the 1999 decree, the NBC is now to regulate the entire broadcasting industry in Nigeria. Its regulatory powers now transcend privately owned broadcasting stations in Nigeria. It is now to regulate all broadcasting stations whether owned by private individuals or the Federal, State or Local Government. Thus the NTA, the FRCN, VON, and radio and television 144


stations owned by any State government or local government now come under the regulatory powers of the NBC. Any state or local government that wishes to establish and operate a radio or television station must apply to the NBC for the license to do so. And all radio and television stations whether owned by private individuals or community, or the Federal, state or local government, are now subject to the NBC code and other laws, rules and regulations governing broadcasting in Nigeria. And the NBC may apply sanctions on any such station where it is in breach. The NBC now has the power of regulating manpower development of the broadcast industry by accrediting curricula and programmes for all tertiary training institutions that offer Mass Communication in relation to broadcasting section 2(c) of the 1999 decree (new sub-paragraph (p)). By this provision, the Commission is to prescribe the courses to be offered by such departments in Nigerian universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and any public or private institution of higher learning that offer Mass Communication. And such institutions are bound to implement the directives of the Commission. The NBC is now empowered to intervene and arbitrate where there is conflict in the broadcast industry section 2 (c) of the 1999 decree (new sub-paragraph (q)). Such conflicts, for example disagreements over broadcast rights of a public event, such as a football match or any sports or public event of any kind; where stations disagree over coverage areas, such as where a station quarrels with another over exceeding its coverage area and interfering in the latter's; where a cable station claims that it has exclusive rights to retransmit a particular international satellite station or channel to the exclusion of all others, etc. Whatever the nature of the conflict, the NBC is to intervene and arbitrate. However, parties dissatisfied with the NBC's decision can appeal for judicial review. But it appears that where a party to a dispute attempts to outflank or avoid the NBC and goes to court (without referring such dispute to the NBC), the courts will insist that the party first seeks the arbitration of the NBC. By this provision, no party to a conflict with another in the broadcasting industry (say where two stations are in dispute) can jump the NBC and go straight to court. They must first take the matter to the NBC. But they reserve the right to appeal NBC's decisions after arbitration, if unsatisfied. The NBC is also to ensure that all laws, rules and regulations relating to participation of foreign capital in relation to local capital in broadcasting are complied with section2(c) of the 1999 decree (new sub-paragraph (r)). Section 9 (1) (b) of the 1992 Decree stipulates that the Commission shall, in considering an application for a license, be satisfied that the applicant is not applying on behalf of any foreign interest. This provision appears to amplify the importance of ensuring that no broadcast property is surrendered to foreign interests that may jeopardize 145


national security. The NBC is now to serve as national consultants on any legislative or regulatory issues on the broadcasting industry, including the appointment of persons to top positions in the broadcast industry section 2(c) of the 1999 decree (new subparagraph(s)). This provision is commendable as the NBC's input on any legislation on broadcasting is important. The NBC is also to guarantee and ensure the liberty and protection of the broadcasting industry with due respect to the law-section 2(c) of the 1999 decree (new sub-paragraph (t)). The intendment of this paragraph is not clear. In our opinion, this provision is meant to address the problem of interference by media owners in the day-to-day activities of the broadcast stations they own. The provision appears to empower the NBC to insulate the management of broadcast stations from influence and control by their owners, particularly any federal, state or local government that would attempt to use the media under their control as political organs, or use their stations for purposes detrimental to public interest by interfering with the running of their stations. The 1999 Decree also amends section 3 of the principal (1992) Decree. The 1992 decree provides that the Commission shall consist of: a. a chairman b. nine other members as may be appointed to represent the following interests, that is i. Law ii. Business iii. Performing arts iv. Education v. Social science vi. Media vii. Public affairs, and c. The Director General of the Commission The 1999 Decree expands the membership by adding the following interests. Culture Broadcasting (which replaces "media" in the principal decree) Engineering State security service and The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture These additions are commendable as they will ensure that wider interests are accommodated in formulating broadcast policies and the regulatory activities of the Commission. In particular, the inclusion of the State Security Service will 146


guarantee the protection of national security. The presence of the State Security Service ensures that broadcast property are not allowed to be in the wrong hands and will ensure proper investigation of applicants for broadcast licenses. Section 9 of the principal decree is amended by the 1999 Decree. A new paragraph (a) now substitutes section 9 (a) of the 1992 Decree. The new section 9 (1) (a) reads. "The Commission shall, in the consideration of an application for license under this Decree, be satisfied that the applicant A. Is a body corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree, 1990, or a station owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or Local Government" This provision further empowers the NBC to regulate the entire broadcasting industry in Nigeria and in particular brings all government owned stations under NBC regulation. The 1999 decree also amends section 9 (5) of the 1992 decree by substituting for the old subsection (5) the following new subsection (5). "(5) it shall be illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two of each of the broadcast sectors of transmission". This subsection clears the ambiguity in section 9(5) of the 1992 decree which stipulated that it shall be illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two television stations. The 1999 decree amends that provision and states that no person shall own controlling shares in more than two of each of the broadcast sectors. Accordingly, a person who owns controlling shares in two television stations cannot own controlling shares in a third station; a person who owns controlling shares in two radio stations cannot own controlling shares in a third station. Thus if a person has controlling shares in a television or radio station located in Abuja, and another one in Enugu, the same person cannot own controlling shares in another station anywhere else. However, it appears that the same person can own controlling shares in two radio stations and two television stations, and perhaps in addition, controlling shares in two cable retransmission stations. As regards cable satellite retransmission stations, there appears to be a problem. Cable satellite retransmission stations mostly retransmit or redistribute satellite channels or stations; would it be illegal for one person to own more than two of such stations? We believe that cable redistribution stations do not pose the potential problems as terrestrial radio and TV stations which the decree tries to avoid. We believe that it will not be against the intendment of the decree for one person to own a network of cable satellite redistribution stations across the country. After all, some stations have a bouquet of channels on satellite, offering tens of choices of stations and being received in all parts of the country and across 147


Africa. Thus, we believe that cable redistribution stations do not come under this provision. This provision appears to be intended to avoid a situation where one person may own more than two radio stations and more than two television stations and become so powerful as to constitute a threat to society. Section 4 of the 1999 decree also amends the 1992 decree by adding a new subsection (6) to section 9. The new subsection (6) reads:"(6) any broadcast station transmitting from Nigeria before the commencement of this Decree shall be deemed to have been licensed under this Decree and, accordingly, shall be subject to the provisions of this Decree". This new subsection appears to be intended to bring all broadcast stations particularly government-owned stations (Federal, State etc) in existence before the commencement of the decree, under and subject to the decree and to NBC's regulation. The 1999 decree substitutes the old section 13(1) (a) with important additions. The new paragraph (a) of section 13(1) provides that the Commission shall have power with respect to any license granted under section 9, "(a) to allocate to a licensed station, that is (i..) In the case of a radio station, Frequency Modulation, Medium Wave and Short Wave, (ii.) In the case of television, Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency, (iii.) Such other broadcast frequencies as the Commission may from time to time determine". Under section 13(1) (a) of the 1992 decree, the NBC was empowered to allocate frequencies specifically for FM/MW and VHF bands. It appears that the inclusion of the other bands/ frequencies - Short Wave, Ultra High Frequencies - is because the decree has now brought all government owned broadcasting stations under the regulatory control of the NBC. Section 6 of the 1999 decree amends section 14 of the 1992 decree. Under the new section 14 (a), the NBC is empowered to charge fees and levies on broadcasting stations owned, established or operated by private individual(s), Federal, State or Local government. By this provision, it is now mandatory for all broadcast stations in Nigeria, including Federal, State, or Local government-owned stations, to pay such levies or fees, annually, that the Commission may charge. No limits are placed on what the Commission may (choose to) charge. The 1999 decree in section 6, makes an addition to section 14, with a new subsection (4) stipulating that it is illegal for any person to offer for sale, sell or 148


have in his possession with a view to selling in the course of his business, any installation, mechanism, instrument, material or other apparatus constructed for the purpose of or intended to be used for wireless telegraphy except under and in accordance with a license issued by the Commission in that behalf. Accordingly, any person who wishes to engage in the business of importation, sales and supplies of such instruments, apparatus, material or mechanism, must first apply to the NBC and be granted the license to do so by the Commission. And no person can import such apparatus unless he has been licensed by the NBC to establish or operate a station. Though the decree does not make provisions on the consequence of such an illegal act, it appears that the NBC may impound such materials in addition to prosecuting persons in possession of them. The 1999 decree commendably addresses the issue of collection of radio and TV set licenses fees. In section 7 of the 1999 decree, a new section 14 A is inserted, which empowers the Commission to collect and hold in trust for and disburse on behalf of broadcast houses, such license fees accruing from the ownership of radio and television sets, as the Commission may prescribe. By this provision, it appears that only the NBC can prescribe, charge, collect and disburse radio and television sets fees in Nigeria. Therefore, no state government or Federal Government or local government in Nigeria can charge or collect radio and television set license fees. Only the NBC can do so. But the NBC is not to hold such revenue generated. It is to distribute or disburse them to broadcast houses in the areas where such fees are collected. The decree does not state which broadcast houses are entitled to such monies. For instance, are private broadcasting houses entitled to share in the revenue collected from radio and TV sets in an area where there are government and privately-owned radio and TV stations? Supposing in future all public or government owned stations are to stop taking or running advertisements on their radio and TV stations, would it be morally right for privately-owned stations to share in the revenue generated from radio and TV sets license fees? The NBC should articulate its policy on this subject. Section 8 of the 1999 decree inserts new sections 19A and 19B to the 1992 decree. By the provisions of the new section 19A, any station which contravenes the provisions of the National Broadcasting code or any other order of the Commission shall be liable to the sanctions prescribed in the code. Thus the decree gives complete weight and total support to the NBC code and to any rules or order the Commission may prescribe from time to time, for any breach of the broadcasting code and other rules governing the broadcasting industry in Nigeria. The new section 19B mandates the NBC to indemnify any member of staff of the 149


Commission against losses or liabilities sustained or incurred in course of his duties, so long as such injury, losses or liability did not result from the willful neglect or default of such member of staff. The new section 19B also absolves the Commission from liability by a licensee resulting from any infringement, in the exercise of his license, of a copyright in any work of any law arising out of the exercise of his license. And the licensee is personally liable for such copyright or other violations. A new paragraph 1A is inserted into the First Schedule to the 1992 decree stipulating that the office of the Commission shall be in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where the general sessions of the Commission shall be held. A new paragraph 5A to the first schedule empowers the Commission to conduct its proceedings as it deems fit. A new paragraph 5B is also added to the First Schedule which makes it mandatory for each official vote and official act of the Commission to be entered on record and its proceedings made public if any interested party so requests. However, a new paragraph 5C empowers the Commission to withhold publications of records or proceedings containing secret information affecting national defence and security. Thus, even if paragraph 5B obligates the NBC to make public its proceedings if requested by an interested party, the NBC, in exercise of its powers under paragraph 5C, may refuse to make such proceedings public on the ground that to do so would jeopardize national security. The 1999 decree amends the Third Schedule to the 1992 decree by providing in a new paragraphs 2A and 2B that, in considering an application for the renewal of a license the Commission shall review the past conduct of the licensee paragraph 2A; and that the Commission may not renew a license if, having regard to the past performance of the station, it is not, in the opinion of the Commission, in the national or public interest or the interest of the broadcast industry, to do so. This calls for caution on the part of licensed stations whether owned by private individuals or the federal, state, or local government, or a community. Since the past conduct of a station would be an important issue when renewal is sought, stations must ensure that they always operate according to the rules governing the industry and avoid anything that would necessitate NBC's sanctions. However, it must be noted that stations refused renewal under this provision or any other grounds may seek judicial review of NBC's decisions or actions. A new paragraph 4 is also inserted into the Third Schedule. The paragraph provides that the responsibility for the contents of a station's broadcast falls on the licensee. Thus every station takes responsibility for their broadcast contents and no station can he heard to say that it did not authorize its staff to broadcast an 150


offensive or illegal material. Stations must therefore ensure that they train their staff properly. For a new air personality (presenters, newscasters etc.), scripts should be written and submitted to their heads of department twenty four hours before presentation, and nothing should be imported into approved scripts. The 1999 decree substitutes the 1992 decree subparagraph (b) for a new subparagraph(b). The new subparagraph (b) provides for a local programme content which shall not be less than 60 percent local and not more than 40 percent foreign for radio and television, and not less than 20 per cent local or more than 80 percent foreign for cable satellite retransmission". Stations must comply with this provision which aims at protecting and projecting our local culture and values. A new paragraph 7 to the Third Schedule makes it mandatory for every station to make available for the inspectorate staff of the NBC, their broadcast facilities and programmes; and transmission recordings must be kept for at least 3 months before being discarded. Under the 1999 decree amendment to paragraph 8 of the Third Schedule to the 1992 decree, the Commission may revoke a license, where the license has not been put to use within a period of two years after issuance. This provision is commendable as it appears to show understanding for the difficulties a licensee may face establishing a station under one year, as the 1992 decree stipulated. The new paragraph 8 adds additional new paragraphs, which empower the NBC to revoke a license where:(8) (c) - the licensee knowingly made false statements in the application form or any statement of fact material to the grant of license: (8) (f) - the Commission discovers even after issuance of license, authentic information or fact that would ordinarily disqualify the grant of the license. In our opinion such authentic information would include, among others: i. ii.

iii.

Where it is later discovered after the license had been granted that the applicant was applying on behalf of a foreign interest. Where the NBC discovers, after the issuance of the licensee, that the licensee already has controlling shares in two similar broadcasting stations and also had controlling shares in the new licensed station. Where an applicant is discovered to have applied on behalf of a political party or religious organisation.

It appears that this provision empowers the NBC to correct its own oversights or mistakes, and that the consideration of a license continues even after the grant, and 151


therefore the grant of a license does not foreclose the NBC's role of investigating the statements or information provided by the applicant in the form for application of license or elsewhere. (8) (g) where the licensee willfully or repeatedly failed to operate substantially as set forth in the license. (8) (h) where the licensee willfully and repeatedly failed to comply with the decree or code or a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The ratified treaty appears to refer to copyright treaties and related treaties which Nigeria is signatory to. (8) (i) where a station violates a cease and desists order issued by the NBC (8) (j) where a licensee willfully and repeatedly refuses access into it's station. (Access here appears to refer to access to the inspectorate staff of the NBC and does refer to access to the general public). (8) (k) Where a provision of the broadcasting code has been seriously breached. The 1999 decree inserts new paragraphs 8A, 8B, and 8C as follows: "8A. The public hearing referred to in paragraph 8 may be held at such places as the Commission shall determine to be appropriate, and in making such determination, the Commission shall consider whether the public interest, convenience or necessity will be served by conducting the hearing at a place in or in the vicinity of the principal area to be served by the station in question". It appears that this provision is meant to allow the NBC make a judgment as to where it chooses to hold its public hearing. The Commission must not hold a hearing in the place or premises or area where the matter or issue in question arose. Where the Commission, for instance, determines that the life and limb of its members are endangered if the hearing is conducted in the principal area, it may relocate to any place it chooses, for convenience. It also appears that the provision is meant to protect persons testifying on the matter. Where holding the hearing in the principal area may limit the witnesses' freedom to freely express themselves or where they may face some danger if the hearing were held in the principal area, the NBC may relocate the venue to a more convenient or safe place. "8B. Pursuant to paragraph 8A, the Commission shall serve upon the licensee or person involved, an order to show cause why an order of revocation, suspension or any order should not be issued against him and the order to show cause shall contain a statement of the matter with respect to which the Commission is inquiring and shall call upon the said licensee or person to appear before the Commission at such time and place as may be stated in the order but not less than 152


thirty days after the receipt of such order, to give evidence upon the matter specified therein". Is this provision meant to compel the NBC to give fair hearing to the licensee or person against whom an order or sanction is about to operate an opportunity to defend himself? Or is it meant to prescribe a framework or procedure for the NBC in the process of applying sanctions? "8C. If after the hearing the Commission determines that an order of revocation, suspension, or any other order should be issued, it shall issue such order, which shall include a statement of the findings of the Commission and the grounds and reasons for the findings and specify the effective date of the order, and cause same to be served on the said licensee or person" (Italics supplied) It appears that the decree here seeks to define the framework for the application of sanctions by the NBC, especially in the revocation of licenses, to avoid arbitrariness in applying such sanctions, in order to safeguard the licensee and his investment from such possible arbitrary application of sanctions or revocation of licenses. Thus the NBC is obligated to give reasons and the grounds for such revocation to the licensee or person. Of course such licensee or person can go to court to contest the decision of the NBC if dissatisfied or aggrieved by it. And as earlier noted, the courts may reverse the action or decision of the NBC where they are found to be destitute of reasonableness or disabled by other factors. In our opinion, the 1999 National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 55, further solidifies the foundations of the broadcasting sector in Nigeria in very important areas. Strengthening and streamlining the laws and operation of broadcasting should be a continuous endeavour, for as the years go by and as broadcast technology and its applications and implications to society grow, there must be constant and commensurate reviews of the laws governing the industry. But much would depend on the operators of broadcast property, and on the National Broadcasting Commission on whom falls the onerous responsibilities of regulating and controlling the industry. CONCLUSION: In discussing the legal aspects of broadcasting, we have tried to avoid the jargon of the legal profession which might make comprehension very difficult for people not versed in the language of the profession . This chapter may not have been very exhaustive. Indeed, a full discussion of the legal aspects of broadcasting will require several volumes of books. We set out to look at the legal aspects of broadcasting in Nigeria which have immediate relevance to the daily operations of licensed broadcasting stations and how those aspects also affect the society 153


especially the listening and viewing public. We hope we have succeeded in achieving our goal in this chapter. REFERENCES In this chapter we have heavily relied on the following authorities and we are indebted. 1. Zechariah Chaffe Jr, Government and Mass Communications, V. I. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1947). 2. Marshal McLuhan and Quentin Fiore, The Medium is the Message: An Inventory of Effects (New York: Bantam books, 1967) P. 26. 3. Anne Rawley Saldich, Electronic Democracy: Television's Impact on the American Political Process, 1979, Praeger Publishers. 4. Lord Griffits in R. V. Horseferry Road Magistrate Court Exparte Bennett (1994) AC42. The law of natural justice connotes an inherent right in man to have a fair and just treatment at the hands of government and its agents. It is a check or limitation on the powers of the state. It operates as a check on the state in two ways: i. That decisions affecting the rights of the citizens must not be made without first giving those affected a fair hearing (andi alteram partem) ii. That the decision maker must not be a party to the dispute or interested in the subject matter of the decision or otherwise biased (nemo judex in causa sua). "The requirement of natural justice must depend on the circumstances of the case, the nature of the inquiry, the rules under which the tribunal is acting, the subject-matter that is being dealt with and so forth". Per Tucker L. J. in Russel V. Duke of Norfolk (1949)1 All E. R. 109 p. 118 5. R. V. University of Cambridge (1723) 1 Str. 557 6. Wood V. Woad (1874) LR9 Ex. 190 (Kelly CB) 7. Board of Education V. Rice (1911) AC 179 8. R. V. Deputy Industrial Injuries Commissioner Exp. Moore (1965) QB456 at 490. 9. R. V. Portsmouth CC exp. Gregory & Moss (1991)2 Admin. LR 681 10. Priddle v. Fisher & Sons (1968)1 WLR 1498. 11. (1875)1 QBD52 12. 13.

Cooper V. Wandsworth Board of Works (1863) 14CB (NS) 180 H.W.R. Wade & C.F. Forsyth, Administrative Law, Seventh Ed. 1994 Oxford University Press at P. 379. See also Westminster Corporation V. L & NW Railway (1905) AC 426 at 430 (Lord Macnaghten) 154


14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.

37. 38. 39. 40. 41.

(1984) SLT 160 (1987) SLT 538 Sharp v. Wakefield (1891) AC 173 H.W.R. Wades & C.F. Forsyth, Administrative Law, Seventh Ed. 1994, Oxford University Press at p. 555 Ridge V. Baldwin (1964) AC at p. 130 H. W. R. Wades & C. F. Forsyth Ibid at p. 555 Shmidt V. Home Secretary (1969)2 Ch. 149; R. V. Birmingham CC Ex P. Dredger (1993) Co. D340. H. W. R. Wades & C. F. Forsyth, Administrative Law. Ibid at P. 524. Kanda V. Government of Malaya (1962) AC 322 R. V. Hendon Rural District Council Exp. Chorley (1933)2 KB 696 R. V. Monopolies and Mergers Commission Exp. Mathew Brown Plc. (1987) IWLR 1235 (1948)1 KB 223 at 229 (1926) Ch. 66 (1925) AC 578 at 606 Council of Civil Service Unions V. Minister for the Civil Service (1958) AC 147 at 410 Oloniluyi V. Home Secretary (1989) Imm. AR 135 153F. (2d) 623 at 628 629 (1946). White V. FRC, 29F. (2d) 113 (1928) Ibid at page 115 Saginaw Broadcasting Co. V. FCC. 96F. (2d) 554 (1938) Lord Brightman in Chief Constable of North Wales V. Evans (1982) 1WLR 1155 at 1174 Estwick V. City of London (1647) Style 42 H.W.R. Wade & C. F. Forsyth, Administrative Law, Ibid at P653. See also Board of Education V. Rice (1911) AC 179 where the Board's decision was ultra vires. Mandamus is a device for securing judicial enforcement of public duties. The power to grant an Order of Mandamus is discretionary and will only be granted against whom it is sought if the person is bound to perform the duty which must be of a public nature R.V. Western Urhobo Rating Authority ex-parte Chief Odje & Others (1961) All N. L. R. 796. Mandamus was refused on this ground in R. V. Brecknock & Abergavenny Canal Co. (1835)3 AD& E217 R. V. Hanley Revising Barrister (1912)3 KB 518 particularly Channel J's statement at 531 (1925) AC 578 at 606 R. V. Secretary of State for Trade & Industry Exp. Lonrho Plc (1989) 1WLR 525 (Lord Keith) Council of Civil Service Unions V. Minister for the Civil Service (1985) 155


42. 43.

AC 374 (a declaratory relief against Minister's instructions was refused on application for judicial review). Lord Parker of Waddington in The Zamora (1916)2 AC 77 at 107 H. W. R. Wade & C. F. Forsyth, Administrative Law, Ibid at p572.

44.

Council of Civil Service Unions V. Minister for the Civil Service (1985) AC 374 at 406 (Lord Scarman).

45.

FCC V. Sanders Bros. Radio Station, 309 U.S. 470 (1940)

46.

Judge Burger in Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ V. FCC (1966) 359F(2d) 944 at 1003. See Anne Rawley Sadich, Electronic Democracy: Television's Impact on the American Political Process 1979, Praeger Publishers.

47. 48.

Ward L. Quaal & James A. Brown, Broadcast Management (Radio Television) Hastings House, New York, (1974) Preface at p. ix.)

49.

Ibid p413.

50. 51.

Red Lion Broadcasting Co, Inc. V. FCC (1969) 395 U.S. 367 at 390. Justice White of the U. S. Supreme Court in Red Lion Broadcasting Company V. FCC, 395 U. S. 367 at 390 (1969)

52.

Bernard Rubin (Professor of Government Affairs and Communications, Boston University, U. S. A) in his Foreword to Anne Rawley Saldich's book, Electronic Democracy, Ibid. Daily Times, May 23, 1980 The Guardian (newspaper) February 13, 2003 (back page)

53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58.

New Patriotic Party V. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (2000) 20 WRN 163 Ibid at pages 164 and 165 The learned jurist culled the excerpts of the US Supreme Court from the Jerusalem Post Law Reports, 1993. New Patriotic Party V. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (2000) 20 WRN pages 172-178.

59.

Ibid at pages 178 to 181

60.

Ibid at pages 184 - 185 CHAPTER FIVE

156


INVESTING IN PRIVATE BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA: PROCEDURES AND PROCESSES Any individual, group of persons or organisation that desires to invest in private broadcasting in Nigeria, be it radio, television, cable satellite retransmission or direct satellite broadcasting, must first read and understand the rules and regulations governing the broadcast industry in Nigeria. These rules and regulations are contained in the National Broadcasting Commission Decree 38 of 1992, the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree No. 55 of 1999, as well as the supplementary regulations made by the National Broadcasting Commission, pursuant to the Decree, contained in the National Broadcasting Code, as the Commission may from time to time, make. Having read and understood the laws, rules and regulations governing the establishment and operation of private broadcast media in Nigeria, the prospective applicant for broadcast license(s) should proceed to examine its motivation for investing. This is important as the wrong motivations could jeopardize the huge capital eventually invested in the venture. The reason for this caution is that going by section 10 of the Decree which stipulates that: "The Commission shall not grant a license to: a. a religious organisation, or b. a political party", a political or religious motivation poses considerable obstacle to the acquisition of the desired broadcast license. Where the license is acquired through deliberate misrepresentation of facts to the Commission, using the broadcast station eventually for such illegal purposes could lead to outright revocation of the license. It must be noted also that there are stiff penalties for deliberate misrepresentation. It is generally assumed that applicants for private broadcast licenses are motivated by the legitimate desire to make profits through commercial broadcasting. However, the desire for goodwill, prestige, influence, popularity or visibility, could be secondary considerations, so long as such secondary motivations do not conflict with the spirit and letter of the laws governing the industry. Commercial or profit motivations are healthy so long as they are complemented with an honest desire to serve the industry, the immediate community within the radius of coverage of the station and the entire nation. The Second Schedule to the Decree provides for an undertaking by an applicant for broadcast licenses, to the effect that upon the grant of a license, the licensee shall abide by the terms and conditions upon which the license is granted. The terms and conditions refer to the provisions of the Decree and the Broadcasting Code as well as other regulations which government and the NBC may from time to time 157


enact. Thus, a prospective applicant must convince himself that he is willing and ready to comply with all rules and regulations governing the establishment and operation of private broadcast media in Nigeria, before applying for the license. Having given adequate consideration to the foregoing, the applicant could then proceed with the application proper. APPLICATION PROCEDURES Broadcasting is highly capital intensive. It also demands enormous intellectual impute from the very point that the decision is made to invest in the sector, through the period the broadcast station is in operation. Thus, broadcasting does not readily lend itself to the I-can-do-it-all-alone attitude of most business men in Nigeria. Prospective investors in private broadcasting are advised to first approach persons with similar desires of investing in the establishment and operation of private broadcasting station(s), join resources and establish the station(s). It is advisable to have at least one seasoned broadcaster on the Board of the company. We also advise that persons known for holding controversial views detrimental to national interest or opinions that are highly fundamentalist, intolerant in nature, especially of religious or political character, should be avoided. The reason for this advise is that no government would willingly surrender its media to forces of destabilization. Having approached individuals who willingly consent to invest in the venture, a company should then be registered. On registration of the company, which must be properly and legally done, the prospective applicants could then proceed with applying for the broadcast license sought. Note, however, that nothing restricts a subsisting organisation from applying for a broadcast license, so far as the foregoing are taken into consideration. Consenting new shareholders and Directors could be brought in by a resolution properly and legally passed by the company and filed with the Corporate Affairs Commission. The first step to applying for a broadcast license is to purchase the application forms from the National Broadcasting Commission. The application form is designed in line with the Second Schedule to the Decree. The forms are in triplicates. Filling the form is not particularly a difficult task. However, we shall, below, provide a guide on how to proceed with it. The form, with the heading 'Form for Application for a Grant of License" consists of 24 questions, answers to which should be honest, brief and to the point. 1. 2.

Name of applicant: here, what is required is the registered name of the organisation applying for the license. Address: the applicant is here required to fill in the exact business address of the organisation; where the company can be found, where 158


3.

4.

5. 6.

7.

8.

communications, correspondences and notices may be addressed and where documents can be served on it. Names and Nationalities of Directors: here, what is required is an honest statement of names of the directors of the company as well as their nationalities. Where foreign interests are involved, their names and nationalities must be stated. Names and Nationalities of shareholders and Shareholding: the requirement here is a statement of the name of every shareholder in the company, their respective nationalities and the number of shares held by each shareholder. Equity Structure: the requirement here is to state the percentage of shares held by each shareholder. It is important here also to state the percentage of unsubscribed shares, if any. Type of Broadcast License Required: (Radio/TV, Cable TV etc) the type of license sought by the applicant company should be stated here. For instance, if what is sought is a Radio license, it is sufficient to simply state: RADIO. Purpose of License: here, the applicant company must explain the purpose for which it desires to establish the station. For instance, if the purpose is purely commercial, it is enough to state: COMMERCIAL. Where the purpose includes a desire to inform, educate and entertain the people, it must be clearly stated as such. Duration for which License is Required: Section 1 of the Third Schedule to the Decree provides that: "a license shall be valid for a period of five years in the first instance" It follows therefore that in the first instance the maximum duration for which a broadcast license could be sought cannot be above five years. It is sufficient, therefore, to simply state "five years" in this item of the form. However, where the applicant desires the license for a duration less than five years, it should state exactly the duration for which the license is sought.

9. 10.

Location: what is required here is a clear statement of the place, city or community where the applicant desires to establish or locate the station. Coverage Area: The initial coverage area prescribed for private broadcasting stations in the Broadcasting Code, were as follows: "Radio within 50 kilometer radius of the transmitting station. Television within 50 kilometer radius of the transmitting station" see sections .1.1.1. and 5.3.1.4. of the Broadcasting Code. For cable satellite retransmission system, however, transmission is restricted to the city where the station is located, unless otherwise 159


extended by the Commission. It should be noted here, however, that it appears that in a recent review, the National Broadcasting Commission has extended maximum coverage area allowed private radio and television stations. The present allowed radius of coverage appears to be the zone in which the transmitting station is located. For instance, for a station located in Enugu, its transmission may now cover the Umuahia Zone under which Enugu falls. Note that the NBC has delineated the entire country into seven zones namely Jos, Kano, Abuja, Maiduguri, Lagos, Benin and Umuahia. For this item on the form, therefore, it is sufficient to state the applicant's primary target areas. And the applicant may, in addition, state : "and the entire maximum radius allowed by the NBC for the zone under which the proposed station will be located" 11. Target Audience/Programme Profile: what is required here is a statement of the target audience, that is, what bracket of the general audience the applicant desires the proposed station to serve. A station's target audience could be universal or general, that is, cutting across all age brackets and interests of the audiences within the radius of coverage. On the other hand, the target (primary target) audience could be a particular age bracket, say the youth. Or it could be the commercial, industrial and business community. Whatever is the target audience of the proposed station, its programme profile must be seen to be tailored along the natural programme preferences of that target audience. 12. Applicant's Interest in any other media: What is required here is an honest statement of the applicant's shareholding in any other media organisation, if any, and the percentage of the total shares it holds in any such media organisation(s), or any other interest, from being on the Board of Directors of any other media to doing business as consultants to any other media organization. 13-18. Items 13 to 18 of the form are purely engineering matters. They should be left to the engineer that designed the engineering system of the proposed station(s) to fill in. The items are: 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Type and make of Transmitters Effective radiating power Type of antenna and its characteristics Distance between studio and transmitter station Type of link system to be used Method of reception (Scramble or open broadcast)

160


19. Type, range and standard of programmes: The applicant is required here to state the nature of programmes it hopes to transmit. Modern broadcasting tends towards programme specialization. A look at the programme contents of international satellite television stations will reveal that different stations specialise in different areas of programmes. While some stations are news based, others broadcast mainly sports programmes, while yet others transmit mainly musical entertainment, documentaries or movies. Television programming in Nigeria is yet to witness specialization in the different genres of television entertainment. It is hoped that private broadcasting in Nigeria will bring about this specialization in programming. We commend the efforts of Channels Television, Lagos, for setting a precedent in this respect. Channels Television chose from the very beginning to be a mainly news channel. We believe that specialization in programming will be a positive development that will benefit both operators of private television stations and their audiences. For radio broadcasting in Nigeria, it is now standard practice for FM stations to transmit mainly musical entertainment while AM band stations concentrate mainly on news and other programmes in indigenous languages as well as indigenous music that project our values and culture. An applicant for a private broadcast license should make up its mind from the very beginning on what the proposed station's dominant programme identification or specialization will be. It is advised that the programme type of an applicant should as much as possible avoid programme designs and contents that are politically hostile or religiously fanatical. Programme designs should also reflect the preferences of the target audiences of the station which the applicant has already identified. 20. Proportion of Nigerian content to foreign content: One wonders at the desirability of this item on the form when section 5, paragraph (b) of the Third Schedule to the Decree already provides for "not less than 40%" of local content. Thus the 40% requirement is mandatory. However, for the purposes of filling the form, the applicant may state as follows: Nigerian content40%; foreign content 60% (for radio and television stations). Where the applicant plans to have over 40% of Nigerian programme content, he should state the exact proportion of local to foreign content he hopes to adopt. We wish to suggest here that section 5(b) of the Third Schedule be expanded to read "African Content", rather than restricting it to "Nigerian Content". We believe that "Africanizing" our local programme content requirement will not be in conflict with our national interest. It is therefore suggested that this provision be enlarged accordingly. Note that for cable satellite retransmission stations, a minimum of 20% 161


local content is required. 21. Proposal for increase of local content over licensed period: here, the applicant is required to explain how it proposes to increase its local content over its licensed period. It is sufficient here for the applicant to state that it hopes to take advantage of the services of Independent Producers and or establish a production unit in its station.. The applicant may also propose setting aside a percentage of its annual net profit for the purpose of financing increase of its local content. However, the applicant must mean and be ready to implement what it undertakes. 22. Any special effort to promote indigenous Talent: This item is not completely different from item 21. It is, in our opinion, sufficient here to state that the production department of the station would be encouraged to be sufficiently creative and that a special budget will be made available annually for that purpose, geared towards promoting indigenous talent, by recruiting new talents and developing them. 23. Evidence of financial capabilities of the applicant: Here the applicant is required to honestly state its ability to finance the establishment of the station. The applicant can here provide information on its bank statements and its assets. Evidence of the organisation's credit worthiness and its goodwill among financial institutions may also be provided. On the technical capability of the organisation, it is, in our opinion, sufficient to give evidence of available technical staff, or state whether a Board member of the company has considerable experience in the technical aspects of broadcasting. Foreign technical support may also be stated, if any. 24. Undertaking: Item 24 of the form is an undertaking by the applicant that, upon the grant of a license, the applicant shall abide by the terms and conditions of the license. The "terms and conditions of the license", refers to the entire rules and regulations governing broadcasting in Nigeria, especially with regard to the applicant's specific type of license sought. The rules and regulations are as contained in the NBC Decree, the Broadcasting Code and any other regulations the Commission may from time to time enact. Before the applicant signs the undertaking, it should first study carefully the NBC Decree and the code and be convinced of its ability, readiness and willingness to comply with them, for, as soon as the undertaking is signed, the applicant is bound by it. 25. This item on the form enumerates documents and information which must accompany an application, to be submitted with the filled application form. The documents and information include the following: a. Certificate of Incorporation b. Certified copy of Articles and Memorandum of Association 162


c. Project study, including engineering design of system; and d. Evidence of the undertaking required under section 9(e) of the decree. Section 9(e) provides that the applicant shall: "Give an undertaking that the licensed station shall be used to promote national interest, unity and cohesion, and that it shall not be used to offend the religious sensibilities or promote ethnicity, sectionalism, hatred and disaffection among the peoples of Nigeria". The question that arises here is, what constitutes the undertaking? In our opinion an affidavit properly sworn to in court is sufficient for this purpose. The documents required in paragraphs (a) and (b) of item 25 of the form are not by any means ambiguous. They are documents issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission on proper incorporation of a company. These are: i. ii.

Certificate of incorporation; and Certified copy of articles and memorandum of association.

Paragraph (c) of item 25 has very wide ramifications and thus demands elaborate examination. We proceed in the following pages to look at the demands of the paragraph, namely, "the project study and engineering design of system". The paragraph is two legged: (1) project study and (2) Engineering design of system. We shall begin with the project study. 1. Project Study: project study means an exhaustive feasibility study or business plan of a project, based on careful research. This requires the gathering of a whole body of information on the venture. Applicants are advised to approach experts in the field, usually consultants, who are trained and equipped to carry out such services. What we shall attempt to do here is to provide a general guide on the body of information that are required to be contained in the project study. Information Required in the Project Study 1.

Introduction: The introductory section of the project study should contain the history of the company (especially where the organisation has been in existence long before it applied for the broadcast license and had been involved in other businesses). The introduction should also explain the corporate philosophy of the organisation and its mission statement and objectives, the applicant's motivation for investing in private broadcast media; whether its motivation is to contribute positively to the education, 163


information and entertainment of the audiences within its proposed location and radius of coverage or whether its purpose is purely to reap financial rewards in form of profits from its operations. 2.

Reason for the Choice of Location of the proposed station: The project study should explain why the Board of Directors of the organisation (the applicant) chose the proposed location of the station; is the reason for the choice the high population of people residing or doing business in the area? Or is the reason the concentration of industries and corporate bodies in the area, or is it the availability of technical and other manpower required for the operation of the station? Whatever is the reason for the applicant's choice of the particular location, it must be clearly stated in the project study.

3.

Funding the project: the applicant is required to provide information on how it expects to fund the venture. Broadcasting is a highly capital intensive venture. The applicant must convince the Commission that it can muster enough capital to execute the project. The applicant must disclose how much of the total capital requirement of the project it can raise on its own (from shareholders) and how much of the required capital it expects as bank loans and contributions by foreign interests or investors, if any. Every information necessary to demonstrate that the applicant has enough financial muscle to fund the project, should be provided.

4.

Composition of the Board: The applicant is required to state the composition of the Board of Directors of the organisation. Background information on the businesses, professional and career accomplishments of each board member is required. The past achievements and positions of authority held by every board member should be emphasised. The purpose here is to demonstrate that the Board members have integrity, and that they are reliable, credible and responsible. The character and records of the board members of the applicant organisation are very important to the NBC. The Commission takes such factors into consideration in deciding whether or not to grant the desired license; whether the board members can be trusted to comply with the rules and regulations on broadcasting and to use the broadcast station in the overall national interest.

5.

Pledge of Non-partisanship and non-interference with the smooth operation of the station: the applicant must pledge non-partisanship. Section 10 of the NBC Decree forbids the grant of license to any political association. It is therefore necessary for an applicant to pledge that it 164


would not surrender its station (if the license is granted to it) to unlawful political use or influence. The NBC would also want to be assured that in so far as the management and staff of the station are operating within the provisions of the law, the board of the applicant organisation will not interfere with the smooth operation of the station in any manner. 6. Operative Departments of the station and Departmental Structure: the applicant is required to show how it hopes to operate the station successfully. In this respect, the project study should state what departments it will establish in running the station, how these departments are to interact in their operations, and how they are to be structured. Operative Departments of a Standard Broadcasting Station Broadcasting stations, especially those modeled after the British broadcast media operation and management system, usually have the following major departments. These are: 1. Production 2. Marketing / Commercial 3. Programmes 4. News (and current Affairs) 5. Engineering 6. Administration. 7. Accounts It is possible, however, to merge some of these departments. For instance, programmes and news departments can be merged. Programmes and production departments can be merged. Administration and accounts departments can be merged. Small, profit oriented private broadcasting stations, especially in North America, tend to de-emphasize departmental structuring. In some of those stations, the lines separating the departments are thin. In order words, they flow into one another. This is especially the case with stations that do not produce their own programmes but are rather established mainly to redistribute or relay network or syndicated programmes to their local audiences, or stations that acquire programmes and depend mainly on independent producers for their programming. 1

FUNCTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENTS

1. Production Department: the production department of a broadcasting station is very important as it determines the stations' output or in-house production. Here programme ideas are conceived, developed and actualised. The functions of a production department include the 165


f. g. h.

i.

2.

e.

following: a. Conception of programme ideas b. Script production / analysis c. Costing of production d. Production of pilots e. Scripting Creating media products such as Radio/TV advertisements /commercials, documentaries, programme promotions, spotlights, talk shows etc. The production department ensures that high standards are maintained in the process of production. Post-production: The production department also sees a production through to its post-production stage which is the final stage of production. It is at this stage also that sponsors' messages are inserted in pre-packaged programmes. The programme, at this stage, is fine tuned and edited, and amendments effected. The station looks up to the production department to support the programmes department. Apart from acquired programmes, the station depends on the production department for its (in-house) programmes. Thus the production department creates and produces good programmes; the programmes department designs programmes and builds them into the best time segments. Wrong placements of good programmes are a loss both to the viewers or listeners to the station's programmes and the station as well. Advertisers who utilize such programmes as a medium for reaching the public are also losers in such circumstances where good programmes are scheduled at the wrong times. Marketing/commercial department: This department is the money maker for the station. Its main function is to generate revenue for the station. In doing this, it undertakes the following: a. Sponsorship drives b. Commercial spot sales c. Programmes acquisitions and sales d. Conducting market survey Audience preference drive: The marketing/commercial department, through the use of programme announcements and promos, works with both the production and programmes departments in ensuring wide audience preference in favour of the station. 3. Programmes Department: As the name suggests, the programmes department deals with programmes and programming. The main function of the programmes department is the scheduling of different categories of programmes within time segments that best guarantee highest audience viewership preference, attention and penetration. The production department produces good programmes. The programmes department 166


designs best time segments for programmes - good programmes at good times win audience preference in favour of the station. Advertisers are attracted to advertise on the station knowing that they can reach more consumers of their products and services through the station. The programmes department also performs the following functions: Acquisition of programmes Monitoring broadcast quality, and Continuity announcement The programmes department may also originate programme ideas, develop and produce them in concert with the production department. 4. News/Current Affairs Department. The main function of the news (and current affairs) department is to source for, collate and compile news of all categories for the station. It determines what items among the volume of information available to it daily should be built into its news bulletin. The news department also prioritizes news items, usually along the expectations and interests of its audiences. The news department also performs the following functions (among others): - investigating and verifying information before broadcast. - collecting and collating information from the station's correspondents. 5.

Engineering Department: The main function of the Engineering Department of a broadcasting station is to take care of the technical aspects of the station's operations such as equipment maintenance, system development and training of technical staff. The department anticipates, locates and solves technical problems arising from the station's equipment and facilities.

6.

Administrative Department: This department handles all administrative matters such as staff welfare. The department also ensures discipline among members of staff. Some stations have separate accounts department which takes care of all financial records of the station. However, the accounts department could be merged with the administrative department.

7.

OPERATIONAL STRATEGIES OF THE DEPARTMENTS The NBC would want to know how the applicant hopes to co-ordinate 167


the activities of the different departments in advancing its corporate objectives. In the following pages, we shall suggest workable operational strategies that these departments in a broadcasting station can adopt in achieving maximum success in their operations.

i. ii. iii.

i. ii. iii.

i. ii. iii.

Suggested Strategies to adopt 1. Production Department a. Creative concept actualization and translation Creative designing and packaging of interesting programmes for over-all broadcast needs Ensuring compliance with stipulated or considered artistic, creative and technical judgement in every programme idea, in conception and design, and at every level in the process of production. Conceiving and developing production scripts and providing marketing points for every productive efforts, for convincing prospective sponsors and users of the production b. Concept Requirements: Regular identification, selection and determination of best style for all acquired or commissioned projects to be used by the marketing unit. Working in concert with the marketing/commercial department in testing, verifying and perfecting production logistics for all programmes or productions. Establishing effective and efficient budgetary control measures in all commissioned projects. c. Perfecting production standards Initiating, identifying and setting technical requirements for the station's productions as well as contributing to the creation of production standards for the entire broadcast industry Enlisting, maintaining, and retaining the services of independent producers. Up-dating post-production facilities to enhance output. 2.

Programmes Department:

A. i.

iii.

Scheduling programmes: Introduction and identification of a highly efficient scheduling system for the station ii. Initiation of appropriate monitoring structure to assess and guarantee successful programming Creation of an effective programme-sourcing procedure and processes for the station. 168


b. i. ii. c. i. ii. iii.

Collecting and collating transmission reports quality of reception Effective management of the logistics of pre-broadcast requirements including programmes previews. Predicting and adapting to audience reasonable expectations on contents of broadcast materials Library Maintenance Strategies Adopting effective storage methods for broadcast materials Adopting efficient system for shelf-management to enhance quick materials identification and retrieval Painstaking preview of programmes before broadcast, to ensure compliance with set broadcast standards.

d.

Providing efficiently for the broadcast needs of the station as it affects programming generally

i.

Adopting an effective system for the sourcing and procurement of broadcast materials. Reaching out to other media vehicles (print etc) for effective publicity of the station's programmes to achieve higher audience preference for the station.

ii.

e. i. ii. iii.

3. i. ii. iii. b. i.

Acquisitions Identification and categorisation of profitable programmes that would satisfy target audiences and sponsors. Maintaining cordial relationship with local independent producers, franchise agents, dramatists and script writers. Ensuring that only programmes which the company has right to broadcast are transmitted, to avoid copyright violations which could lead to costly litigations. Marketing / Commercial Department a. Market study Careful periodic study of the market for the station's products (or programmes) and services in order to adapt them to the overall corporate interest of the station. Segmentation of market for station's products and services, and ensuring effective adaptation to changing market demands. Collating useful information and data on the dynamics of the industry for improved revenue earnings for the station. Product/Service Identification Regular updated briefs, indepth synopses and sufficient comprehension 169


ii. c. i. ii. iii. d. i. ii. iii. e. i. ii. iii. f. i. ii. g. h. i. j. 4.

of prospective clients' products and services and adapting same to station's products and services, for the purpose of designing appropriate and effective strategies of maximising clients' budgets for media marketing needs. Effective packaging and classification of station's available products and services. Pricing Evolving on regular basis, efficiently developed, realistic and highly competitive pricing mechanism Intelligence gathering on competitors' market position, and designing effective strategies to make in-roads into competitors' market share. Adequate knowledge of industry's pricing system Marketing System Planning and adopting effective marketing strategies to improving revenue potentials Identification of market, and strengthening sales drive to achieve maximum market share Studying, designing, defining and adopting effective fundamentals of corporate marketing philosophy and strategies. Target Setting / Realisation Initiating highly developed and reliable target-setting methods for identified markets and overall corporate sales Regular review and strict monitoring of achievements against corporate set goals or targets Creation of attractive incentives to spur marketing staff to achieving maximum revenue potentials. Market Monitoring / Evaluation Using scientific and comprehensive market intelligence methods Regular and effective assessment of changing market situations and developments in the industry Products Development Developing the potentials for easy identification of viable ideas, products and services Quick and highly effective and efficient level of response to the dynamics of the market Encouragement and development of personal initiatives and creativity among personnel in the overall corporate interest and objectives News (and Current Affairs) Department 170


a. b. c. d. e. f.

5. a. b. c. d.

6. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i.

Developing the knack for identifying highly interesting news materials along peculiar station's audience needs and preferences, and styling news writing to capture audience interest Recruiting channels and sources for collection of news materials Creating news verification channels and methods. Instilling discipline in news correspondents Establishing and maintaining cordial relationships with sources of news materials. Designing and maintaining city wide (and coverage area)street/community news through "candid /roaming camera/microphone" methods, and instant news/outside broadcast facilities. Engineering Department Recruiting, encouraging and supporting efficient and effective engineering and technical staff Encouraging alternative methods for spares sourcing through innovative fabrication and local sourcing of spares in order to conserve foreign exchange and ensure less dependence on foreign technology Creating effective processes and methods for stimulating and encouraging initiative and creativity among engineering and technical staff. Identifying and arranging for technical staff, periodic attendance of seminars and workshops to update their knowledge and keep them abreast of new technologies and innovations in the industry. Administrative Department Evolving and reviewing staff recruitment systems that emphasize professionalism, drive, creativity, initiative and dynamism. Evolving satisfactory and encouraging conditions of service and welfare system, and creating staff training opportunities as incentives to guaranteeing maximum individual and corporate output and efficiency. Adopting methods for general staff discipline. Creating an enabling environment for cordial inter-personal relationship, co-operation and team spirit, among staff. Creating a conducive environment for healthy competition among staff. Evolving staff promotion systems that encourage excellence. Maintaining regular contacts with industry trade unions. Developing interests and providing support or help to individual staff problems Quick intervention in staff disputes or quarrels that threaten team spirit. DEPARTMENTAL STRUCTURES OF A BROADCASTING ORGANISATION

171


One noticeable feature of government-owned media organisations is the duplication of functions among departments and staff, which usually results in under utilization of, and redundancy among staff. As earlier noted, the result of duplication is overstaffing, which itself is the result of politicizing what is otherwise a professional and commercial undertaking. For a private broadcasting organization, staff recruitment, functions and departmental structures, should be designed to allow for optimal results. For the purpose of setting up an effective and efficient departmental structure, therefore, the following system will suffice. 1.

2.

3.

4.

5. 6. 7.

Board of Directors: At the peak of the pyramid of the organisational structure is the Board of Directors, whose main function should be drawing up corporate policies for the organisation and making final decisions on guidelines for corporate existence and continuity. Managing Director /Chief Executive: The Managing Director is the pointman of the Board of Directors, conferred with authority to oversee the overall corporate interests and operations of the organisation. The buck ends on his table. He is accountable to the Board of Directors. General Manager: The General Manager comes directly under the managing director. He co-ordinates the activities of all the departmental managers, and ensures that the operations of the organisation are carried out effectively and in line with the overall corporate policies and objectives. All departmental managers are answerable to the General Manager. Note, however, that the positions of Managing Director and General manager can be merged to save costs. Departmental Managers: Departmental Managers oversee the day-today activities of their respective departments. They draw up procedural strategies for achieving set corporate policies, objectives, targets and goals. They ensure that every staff under them perform their duties efficiently and effectively. Senior Executive Officers: These are more or less foremen of the organisation. They directly supervise their individual departments, respectively, down the line. Intermediate Staff: These are officers of the organisation who are mainly field men. They do the practical jobs in the organisation and are usually the organisation's first point of contact with the outside world. Junior Staff: This category of Staff are usually clerks, messengers etc who complement the work of the other levels of staff. They are usually under the supervision of and therefore are subordinate to the intermediate staff who direct them on their duties. A graphic representation of the prescribed departmental structure of a 172


private broadcasting station, as enumerated above, would appear thus: Board of Directors Managing Director General Manager Departmental Managers Senior Executive Officers Intermediate Staff Junior Staff In a broadcasting organisation, there should be less emphasis on hierarchy. Every level of staff should relate easily with, and should be accessible to others. Obsession with position of authority should not be allowed to take root among management personnel. Command-and-control method of management is counter productive and should be discouraged in a broadcasting organisation. Frontline decision making should be encouraged, while ensuring that all strata of staff imbibe and adopt self management, innovativeness, a sense of responsibility, initiative and unfettered creativity. Top management staff should adopt a management style that encourages coaching and correction; they should adopt co-operation, rather than giving orders without sufficient attention to the constructive opinion or suggestions of subordinate staff. A challenging work environment should be created, which is characterised by healthy competition and the desire among staff to excel. Inter-departmental co-operation and mutual support should be encouraged. Departmental and staff operations and functions should be fluid rather than operating in exclusive water-tight compartments (departments).

SOURCES OF REVENUE FOR THE PROPOSED STATION An applicant for a license to operate a Private broadcasting station is required to 173


state its expected sources of revenue. This mandatory requirement in applying for a broadcast license could also be helpful in sourcing for loan or credit facilities to finance the establishment of the station. The questions the applicant should address in this respect are: 1. Is the proposed location of the station a commercial or industrial area? Or does the location and its radius of coverage have a concentration of higher institutions of learning? What are the peculiar advantages in the location that would enhance revenue? -

What particular age bracket or segment of the station's real and potential audience forms the target of the station's programming, and what is the percentage of the target population vis-Ă vis the total population of the area? Answers to these questions and others will determine the target market (advertisers) for the station's products; in other words, answers to the questions will determine what manufacturers or producers of goods and services would mostly need to reach the audiences within the location. The main source of revenue for a commercial broadcasting station is advertising. There are several categories of advertising. These include:

1.

Product advertising: This is the major source of revenue for a broadcasting station. Product advertising is the presentation of products goods and services manufactured, marketed or distributed by the individual, group or organisation sponsoring the message to the consuming public, through the media. Product advertising can take any of two forms:

a. Sponsorships: Where an organisation bears the cost of production of a radio or television programme, alone, together with the cost of airtime. This is what is known as sole sponsorship. Usually, sponsorship is on quarterly basis. The advertiser pays the cost of production plus the cost of airtime. Cost of production is not necessarily the cost incurred in the process of producing or making a television or radio programme drama, soap opera, documentary, musicals, sports etc. Though this is what it means where the production is packaged or produced by the broadcasting station itself (or where the station produces the programme in conjunction with independent producers). Cost of production also means the cost of acquiring or purchasing the right to air an already produced programme including other costs incurred in packaging the programme for broadcast. Usually, some percentage markup is built in by the station, as profit. The advertiser's (sponsor's) message is then slotted into the programme at intervals, usually at quarter-hours, or as often 174


as the advertiser and the station agreed. Note, however, that in the National Broadcasting Code there are rules on how regular, advertisers' messages can be slotted into sponsored programmes. Apart from sole sponsorship, there is also Joint Sponsorship. Joint sponsorship is where two or more (different) organisations or, two or more brand names under the same organization, advertise their (different) products on the same programme which they jointly sponsor. Joint sponsorship is usually undertaken by two or more companies who are involved in different lines or brand names of products and services. For instance, it would be difficult and infact irrational to convince Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola to sponsor the same programme on radio or television, as they are competitors in the same line of products. Where these two giants in soft drink business jointly sponsor the same programme on radio or television, it may result in confusing and confounding consumers. Note, however, that a company may have its different brand names (divisions) sponsor a programme jointly. For instance Coca-cola- may have its different brand names as Sprite , Coke, Fanta etc. sponsor the same programme. Spot Commercials: this is another form of product advertising. However, in this case, the advertiser does not have exclusive exposure or publicity within the programme or time belt. Different advertisers can air their messages within the same belt. Usually spot adverts are clustered in "commercial break" slots of broadcasting stations. Products advertising is usually the main source of revenue for broadcasting stations located in major commercial cities. 2. Events Advertising: Events advertising means the airing of messages on the media, publicizing an event or occasion of socio-cultural, business, religious or political nature. It could be weddings, commemorations or anniversaries, coronations, or other social events of whatever nature; political and business meetings also come under the category of events advertising. Obituary announcements also fall into this category of advertising in the broadcast media. A broadcast station located in a city with a population of high income earners who have a tendency for socializing, will reap immense benefits in this area. 3. Personality Profile: In some cities in Nigeria where there is a concentration of businessmen and traders, there is usually a tendency to selfprojection and self-assertion by way of ostentatious display of wealth and social standing. It is not unusual in such environments to hear or see advertisement in the broadcast media merely announcing the "arrival" of the "Proprietor, Chairman, President, Managing Director and Chief Executive" of XYZ "Group of Companies". This tendency among such people in such cities could be a source of considerable revenue for stations located there. Such stations could create special 175


(personality) programmes to satisfy such desires or tendencies, thereby generating revenue in the process. Other sources of revenue: broadcasting stations could exploit other potential sources of revenue such as the packaging of products e.g. adverts and jingles. Broadcasting stations may also undertake coverage of events, production of video programmes, editing, and general post production services. Broadcast stations can also generate revenue through organizing tourism-related events, cultural events etc, especially during festive periods. Thus an applicant for a broadcast license must carry out careful study on it's proposed station location in order to determine its potential sources of revenue in that location. REVENUE ESTIMATES/PROJECTIONS The National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, requires an applicant for a broadcast license to provide the Commission with the proposed station's projected revenue estimates per annum. It appears that the Commission requires this information for two reasons: 1. The Commission, in keeping with its statutory responsibility of monitoring, controlling and supervising the broadcasting industry in Nigeria, would want to be assured or convinced that the applicant could generate enough revenue to keep it in business through the life span of its desired license. This would not only protect the station from possible financial crisis, which could force it to close down prematurely; it would also help in ensuring job security for the staff of the broadcasting station. 2. The Commission in exercise of the powers conferred on it by the parent Decree, periodically charges some fees, usually a certain percentage of stations' gross annual revenue. Currently, the rule is that for the first two years, a licensed station is required to pay 2% of its gross income per annum, to the NBC. Thereafter, it shall pay to the NBC 5% of its gross revenue per annum. Thus, it is important for the Commission to know an applicant's projected revenue per annum in order for the Commission to be able to make projections on what its revenue from licensed stations would amount to yearly. We think that the requirement for payment of 2% of gross revenue per annum by stations in the first two years of their operation, and 5% in their subsequent years, is unfair. If the Commission must charge such percentage, it is suggested that it should read "2% of net revenue per annum for the first two years, and 5% of net revenue per annum, thereafter". Much as we deem it necessary for the 176


Commission to charge some fees to defray or subsidize the cost of performing its highly demanding duties, we believe that the percentage is rather high, considering the capital-intensive nature of (establishing and running) a broadcast station. The Commission should also consider the fact that broadcasting stations are also subject to the payment of different categories of taxes to government, while also contending with staff salaries and high cost of maintenance of equipment. Thus, we suggest that the percentage of revenue generated by stations to be paid to the NBC should be reduced, in view of the foregoing arguments and the unavoidable overheads which the stations incur in course of their operations, every year. A comprehensive study of the revenue potentials (estimates) of the proposed station should be realistic and should be left to accountants or other professionals capable of providing such services. What is important is that the revenue estimates should be seen to be achievable and should be convincing. It is important in this respect to work with minimum revenue potentials than to be over- ambitious. In other words, it is better to be somewhat pessimistic rather than too optimistic on revenue possibilities; for as someone has rightly said, a pessimist is an optimist with the facts! It is noteworthy here that a well researched and well-packaged revenue estimates will also be relevant in compiling cost benefit analysis which could be useful in sourcing a loan to finance the station, if and when the applicants decide to source for capital. Without prejudice to the professional competence of an accountant who may be commissioned to carry out the project study for the proposed station, we suggest that care be taken to ensure that the following information are built into the study: 1. 2.

Initial capital requirements; including cost of equipment, mast, office complex, office equipments, power back-up, vehicles etc. Operating costs estimates: salaries, telephone, fax, telex, electricity bills, etc.; Insurance, vehicles and equipment maintenance, office rent, rates etc. 3. Revenue estimates: from all sources of revenue 4. Profit estimates 5. estimate of potential customer base 6. Estimate of potential revenue per customer 7. Expected rate of returns etc.

The revenue estimate should be exhaustive. As earlier noted, the station could need it for other purposes in course of time. ENGINEERING DESIGN OF SYSTEM An applicant for a broadcast license must submit along with its filled application forms, the project study and engineering design of system. We have in the foregoing pages looked at the specific and general requirements in respect of the 177


project study. We shall proceed, hereunder, to look at the requirements under the engineering design of system. The engineering design of a broadcasting system can only be done by a well trained and experienced engineer in that aspect of engineering, that is, electronics engineering. Thus, an applicant should employ the services of a good engineer to do the job. Currently, what appears to be the practice in certain quarters is what is called "arm-chair engineering"; by this is meant a situation where, for instance, an applicant seeking broadcast license for a station to be located in say Ibusa, Delta State, commissions an engineer residing and doing business in Maiduguri, Borno State, (who has never been to the South East in his life) to design the engineering system of the station. Usually the arm chair engineer would simply pick up a comprehensive map of Nigeria and locate the area on the map. He then proceeds to look at available literature on state-of-the-arts broadcasting technology and then goes on to design accordingly. This is not how it should be. The ideal thing to do is for the engineer designing the system of a broadcasting station to pay a visit to the proposed location of the station, travel around the proposed radius of coverage of the station, with a view to studying the geographical and topographical peculiarities of the area and then, based on his findings, design an effective engineering system that will suit the area, and proceed further to recommend the equipment that would most effectively meet with the peculiarities of the area. The problems that could result from 'arm chair" designing of the engineering system of a station could be very serious. It is possible that poor reception problems facing so many broadcasting stations in the country today are not unconnected with this. Some broadcasting stations are not clearly received in their radius of coverage; some are not even able to effectively cover the city where they are located. We therefore advise that engineers commissioned to design the system of a broadcasting station should study the peculiar geographical and topographical make-up of the area and then base their designs and equipment recommendation on their careful study. In every case, there should be a visit to and around the proposed location of the station. After compiling the information required in the project study, and designing the engineering system, the applicant should neatly type and bind them together into one booklet, and submit (along with the filled application forms) to the office of the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission. The Commission, after a careful study of the information submitted to it by the applicant, considers whether or not to grant the desired license. Where the Commission is satisfied that the applicant deserves to be granted the broadcast license desired; and the applicant having, in the Commission's opinion, fulfilled all statutory requirements with particular reference to section 9 of the Decree, the 178


Commission would proceed to grant the license. The Commission reserves the right to refuse the grant of a license where it is convinced that the applicant does not deserve to be granted the license. It should be noted however, that with respect to radio and television, what the Commission grants is an approval in principle; that is, provisional approval, subject to final approval by the President. In other words, final approval of broadcast licenses (radio and television) rests with the President section 2(1)(c), which provides that the Commission shall have responsibility of: "recommending applications through the Minister (of Information) to the President, Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces, for the grant of radio and television licenses" Section 2(1) (b) had earlier provided that the NBC shall have the responsibility of: "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" It is suggested that the section which confers on the President, Commander inChief of the Armed Forces, the power of final approval of broadcast licenses, be reviewed. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has too much on his hands. He should not be bothered further with final approval of broadcast licenses. The business of governance at the federal level is cumbersome. The Commander in- Chief should be allowed to concentrate on more important areas of governance. The power of final approval of broadcast licenses should rest with the Federal Minister of Information. The Minister, being on the cabinet of the administration, can be trusted to adequately consider and protect the larger national interest, as well as the interests of the government in power, when considering whether or not to grant final approvals to applicants for private broadcast licenses. However, we are completely in agreement that it is expedient for present purposes, in view of our continuing political developments which suggest for now the level of immaturity, which are birth-pangs of our political evolution, to allow the power of final approval of private broadcast licenses to still rest in the Commander-inChief. However, when democracy finally anchors its embattled ship in the shores of our political waters, this provision would need to be reviewed. Then, it would not be necessary for the President, Commander-in-Chief of the armed Forces, or even the Federal Minister of Information to grant final approval of broadcast licenses. That power (to grant final approval of radio and TV licenses) should repose in the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission working in concert with all the Commissioners and Management of the Commission. 179


Note, however, that the NBC is currently empowered to grant final approvals to applicants for Cable/Satellite Retransmission licenses.

FOOTNOTE

180


1. In 1992-1993, I was a consultant to Clapperboard Television, Lagos, a private organization then involved in programme packaging, acquisition and syndication. The content of this section, from Functions of the Departments to Operational Strategies of the Departments are based on the in-house strategies designed by the team of which I was proud to be one, led then by the very creative Mr. Fola Martins, FM, who was a management staff of Clapperboard Television. We are indebted.

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CHAPTER SIX ADVERTISING AND THE BROADCAST MEDIA IN NIGERIA Advertising is the main source of revenue for a commercial broadcasting station, be it radio or television. As Kevin Amaechi, a renowned advertising practitioner in Nigeria puts it: "While it may be true that media provide advertisers the means to reach potential consumers with their advertising messages, it is even more true that advertising subsidizes the cost of producing media"*. Advertising sustains commercial broadcast media. Advertising, therefore, deserves considerable attention in the discussion of the broadcast media. Advertising is a branch of marketing communications which is itself a branch of marketing. Authorities in marketing agree on the basic definition of marketing, viz, identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs, at a profit. In particular, the British Institute of Marketing defines marketing as 'the Management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably". The customer is the orbit around which all business and indeed all capitalist activity revolves. Thus, modern marketing aims at creating viable channels of reaching the customer. In the true words of professor, Theodore Levitt, a Harvard professor of business, in his book Innovation in Marketing "the chief and inescapable function of every business is getting and keeping customers. A business must learn to think of itself not as producing goods or services but as buying customers, as doing things which will make people want 1 to deal with it" . Professor Levitt further posits that the customer should be treated as the 'source of your welfare and your destiny. He is what your business is all about and that is why you must think of your business as an organized customercreating and customer- satisfying process, or originating and delivering customer creating value satisfaction"2. Adam Smith, one of the foremost apostles of capitalism, underscored the indispensability of the customer. In his classical book, The Wealth of Nations, he wrote: "Consumption is the sole end purpose of all productions and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the customer"3. The customer also enjoys a prominent position in the definition of marketing put forward by Martin Christopher, Malcolm McDonald and Gordon Wills, in their book Introducing Marketing, where they defined marketing as "the way in which any organization matches its own capabilities to the wants of its customers"4. Marketing communications is therefore the scientific 182


processes designed for the purpose of effectively reaching the customer with a view to making him take certain actions as desired by the sponsor. Thus every marketer is faced, abinitio, with the problem of communication how best to reach the customer. A viable answer to this problem cannot be found in just one medium of communication, but in a combination of two or more of the elements of marketing communications, (also known as integrated marketing communications). Integrated marketing communications can be defined as the employment of all or any two or more of the following elements, namely: advertising, public relations, sales promotions, packaging, personal selling, telephone selling, events marketing, exhibitions, trade-fairs, demonstration etc. However, we shall dwell on advertising, for, as earlier noted, it is the main source of revenue for a commercial broadcasting organization. The classical definition of advertising was simply "salesmanship in print". That was at a time when the only mass communication medium known to civilization was the print. That definition was sufficient for the epoch. However, we have gone far beyond those days when the world was not as it is today. With the advent of the broadcast media, the definition of advertising has naturally assumed a wider dimension. Advertising can now be defined as a group of activities which are aimed at presenting a product, idea or service to the public with the intention of compelling action as desired by the sponsor or advertiser. It is non-personal marketing. If we were to adapt the classical definition of advertising to suit present circumstances, we would simply define it as salesmanship through the media. The advertiser and the salesman have a lot in common, they only differ in their different methods of achieving the same goal. While advertising is impersonal, the salesman's operations are on a person- to-person basis he has direct contact with his customer. The salesman carries on his business through any or all of a combination of factors, including contacts by letter or telephone, or in person to fix appointments, visits to prospective buyers and special arrangements for collection and delivery. On the other hand, advertising is impersonal salesmanship, since the audience or consumer is not in direct contact with the communicator or advertiser. Advertising aims to sell, to win customers. It aims at sustaining the preference of current users of a brand, who are encouraged to remain loyal, while compelling non-users of the brand to switch over to it. It employs persuasion in promoting awareness about the product or service being advertised. For any advert to be effective or successful, it has to be capable of carrying the potential buyer through every level of the following chain: Unawareness awareness comprehension conviction-action (to buy the product or service, that is brand acceptance or brand switch). As Max Rubin puts it, advertising aims to "exercise some coercive force upon your judgment, to wheedle it, surprise it, overwhelm it or at least persuade it"5. Advertising is an essential element in the distribution system of a society of mass consumers who have 183


attained discretionary purchasing power and consequently, free choice and optional spending. Perhaps the best definition of contemporary advertising is that put forward by the International Advertising Association, I.A.A. The IAA defines advertising simply as "The right to choose". This definition stands out in two important respects, namely; 1) It puts the customer or consumer where he rightly belongs the sole purpose of product (or service) manufacturing and, 2) it affirms the capitalist economic setting where free enterprise and unfettered entrepreneurial spirit are allowed full reign; every product or service faces considerable competition. This means that there is hardly any product or service that enjoys absolute monopoly except in our present circumstances as a nation where some services such as electricity are still government controlled monopolies. Going by recent trends in government privatization and liberalization policies, however, it is hoped that those sectors that are still government controlled monopolies will soon be surrendered to free enterprise and private investment. Since most brand names of products have similarities in price, packaging, formulation and distribution, every brand owner fights to at least retain its market share, if not make inroads into the market of competing brand names. This calls for sustained media exposure activities in which advertising professionals help the brand owner to create distinctive identity for his product. Advertising is therefore the single potent factor that differentiates one brand name from another. Advertising usually determines consumer preference for a brand vis-Ă -vis another. It is usually the (quality) product with the best advertising exposure that arouses and stimulates the highest possible desire in the brand-a desire that leaves the consumer with the feeling that he is missing something if he has not tried the brand. Thus advertising is a means of disseminating information about products, and stimulating consumer demand through persuasion. It is a synthesizer of wants. As Sydney Head rightly observed "advertising plays an important role in the mechanism of mass distribution as well as in creating appetites for consumer goods. When the housewife stopped making her own soap and buying shoes from the local craftsman, she lost contact with the sources of supply. Advertising bridges the gap. In self-service stores, instead of interrogating a human salesman, the shopper consults an index of advertising lore in her head and responds to the stimuli of point-of-sale displays and eye-catching packages"6. Advertising works. If well packaged, it can lead to increase in sales in the short and long term. Blitz campaigns where an advertisement is repeated very frequently in the media over short intervals can be counter-productive. After a while, they begin to suffer diminishing returns. Creativity in placements is as important as creativity in packaging the content or message in an advertisement. Thus advertisements should be spread over a long period with less frequent (concentration of) placements. A creative advertisement can stimulate considerable demand over a long period if the placements are well made. Note, however, that for a new product 184


just being introduced into the market, regularity of advertisement of the product at least initially, may be necessary. Creativity is imperative in packaging advertising messages. Indeed, as Sydney Head rightly observed "to re-stimulate flagging consumer attention suffieted by advertising, requires great ingenuity and constant effort. Advertising burns up ideas; its work is never done. A successful campaign to launch a new product or lift an old one to new sales levels confers no security, for brand loyalty towards most types of products is notoriously shallow and easily diverted"7. The standard of creativity in advertising practice in Nigeria is dwindling. The following reasons have been advanced for the fall in creativity. They are: 1. High incidence of unprofessional bodies involved in advertising practice in the country. Some individuals and organizations who are not professionals are involved in advertising practice in Nigeria. Because they lack professional knowledge of the industry, their jobs lack creativity and imagination. For them, advertising has no meaning beyond placing advertisements in the print, broadcast, and other media. 2. Big advertising agencies acquire more accounts than they can properly and effectively service: they usually bite more than they can chew. When there are so many accounts, it becomes difficult to give required attention to each one of them. In an attempt to meet the challenges of too many accounts, the big agencies sometimes resort to sharing different accounts among different departmental heads and intermediate staff. The result is a fall in creativity, as collective attention which is imperative in reinforcing and guaranteeing creativity, is lost in the process. To overcome this problem it has been suggested that big agencies should form "captive companies" with separate executives and boards to extend some (of their burden of) business. This is said to be capable of enhancing creativity as the executives of the big agencies and the "captive companies" formed, will be better positioned to handle the responsibility of meeting clients' demand for creativity which will naturally increase sales. 3. Emphasis on profit and not quality: some agencies have sacrificed creativity on the alter of quick profit. What is more important to them is how much profit they make rather than how creative advertisements emanating from their agencies can or have enhanced clients' sales and brand popularity. 4. PR backup for advertisements is usually taken for granted, leading to a situation where social implications of advertisements and appeals are compromised, with the result that some very creative advertisements insult some sections of the target audience such as the poor, the rich, the handicapped, and sometimes status, sex etc.

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Factors that make Advertisements Creative For an advertisement to be successful and creative, it must have the following elements 1. It must identify a target audience and be accommodating to other members of the public outside the target, and should create a positive desire among those outside the target to aspire to that target. 2. It must not encourage status quo: times change and so do ways of doing things. A creative advertisement should be capable of transcending and not encouraging status quo. However, this should be done in a manner that it does not offend the conservatives in the target audience. 3. 4. 5. -

-

It must have a clear distinct message It must encourage originality and ingenuity through creativity. It should be entertaining, informative and educative It should be evidently a product of dedication, ingenuity, creativity and versatility. Placements must be in the right media, at the right time and in the right place. Efforts must be made to ensure that media houses comply with the advertiser's or agency's terms, and ensure that ads are not muddled up in pages of the print media and that visual and audio problems are avoided in the process of airing the advertisement. The advertisement must respect all ethical standards of the profession and laws and regulations that guide advertising practice. The advertisement must create positive effect through increase in sales and brand popularity.

ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS In recent years, following hash economic climate in Nigeria, and the resultant army of the unemployed which it brought with it, some Nigerians in an effort to survive hard times have ventured into areas of business they know little or nothing about. One of such areas of business is advertising (and PR) practice which is now an unchecked free-for-all business. It is not unusual these days to see young school leavers and "emergency contractors" forming organizations which claim to be consultants in advertising and PR practice. Surprisingly, they have more business than some truly professional organizations. We shall here briefly examine the difference between advertising and Public Relations. In a Public Relations conference held in Mexico city in 1978, what is known as the Maxican statement ( a practical definition of public relations) emerged. The conference defined PR as the "art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the 186


organization and the public interest"8. Public relations implies a broader scale long-term campaign aimed at building up an institutional or personal image. Chris A. Dughudje, a renowned Advertising / Public Relations expert in Nigeria, explains Public Relations thus: It "is the effort made by an organization to win the goodwill or understanding of the various publics with which it has dealings. Some say it is the effort made by an organization to be properly understood. And others consider it as any effort an organization makes in order to be seen as socially responsible"9. While advising that such corporate efforts should be deliberate, planned and sustained, Dughudje went on to explain: "Most organizations deal with publics such as employees, shareholders, government, finance houses, distributors, the press, opinion leaders, the local community and the general public. Some publics are however more important than others, depending on the circumstances. And it pays in PR to communicate properly with these key publics, using what is known as PR media"10. It must be added here that it is not enough for corporate bodies to seek the goodwill and understanding of the publics with which they deal. They should more importantly do things that serve the interest of the publics, for it has been said that "PR is 90% doing good and 10% talking about it". The difference between advertising and public relations can thus be condensed into two: 1. While advertising is designed to provide the consumer with a wide range of brand names of products, thus giving the consumer an opportunity to make a choice, PR aims at presenting an organization in the best possible light to the members of the public with which it deals in its corporate existence and operations. 2. While advertising uses specialized media vehicles to reach the consumer, PR uses more all-embracing media. Advertising employs media vehicles such as radio, television, print, outdoor etc, and is impersonal in approach; PR employs both personal and impersonal media such as personal contacts - visits, speeches, lectures, seminars and conferences; publications newspaper reports, articles, features, pamphlets, house journals, annual reports, brochures etc; audio materials telephone conversations; radio features etc; visual outreach pictures, television programmes, drawings etc; and special events - carvings, sponsored programmes, demonstrations etc. Thus PR uses more comprehensive media than advertising. However, inpsite of the differences between them, advertising and PR are usually undertaken by same professionals, and students of any of the two disciplines are usually trained in the other.

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PR Practice in Nigeria Public Relations practice in Nigeria is still developing. The standard practice has been for corporate bodies to employ beautiful ladies and handsome young men who are fluent in English language as PR managers. Usually, such employees lack basic knowledge of the PR discipline. However, with recent developments in our higher institutions of learning, where Public Relations is now an independent discipline, it is expected that considerable improvement in professionalism will result. In our opinion, it is only when PR managers of corporate bodies are welltrained that there would be a better appreciation of the benefits and need for sustained PR activities by corporate bodies. Even when a corporate body retains the services of a PR organization, a PR specialist as manager of the PR department of the company, will better understand and work with the retained PR organization, while at the same time he is in a better position to advise his company effectively on PR matters. THE ARMED FORCES AND PR PRACTICE In recent years the PR divisions of the police and the armed forces of Nigeria have performed quite commendably in tackling their image problem. At a time when the Nigeria armed forces, especially the Nigeria Army, was embroiled in political crisis in the country, at the tail end of the Babangida administration, the PR directorate of the army stood up to the task. Then under the leadership of Col. Fred Chijuka (as he then was) the PR directorate of the Nigeria Army lived up to expectation; coming to the rescue of the institution. At every stage of the crisis, the directorate sought the support and understanding of the public. Perhaps the establishment, later, of a Joint Defence Information Division for the three arms of the military, and the appointment of Brigadier-General Fred Chijuka to head the division, may not have been unconnected with the excellent performance of Chijuka's days as director of Army Public Relations Directorate. It is hoped that successive Defence heads would continue to give the division all the support it requires in future. The division, however, needs to take the press into confidence more than it is currently doing. A situation where interviews are granted first to foreign media before their Nigerian counterparts, as have happened on several occasions in the past, is not in the interest of our nation. Be that as it may, we believe that PR divisions of the armed forces of Nigeria have done well in PR practice. So also have the PR divisions of the Nigeria Police Force at the National Headquarters and at state commands. The excellent performance of Mr. Frank Odita as the police spokesman in his days, opened a new chapter in the annals of the Nigeria police force, a feat that has witnessed improvements with successive police spokesmen after him. The Nigeria Police Force is today much more open and accountable to the public. While we commend this new beginning we hope 188


that the tempo would be sustained. Government and its agencies, as well as private organizations, should realize the importance of excellent PR practice to their corporate existence, and the need to employ professionals to manage their PR matters. In particular, oil companies operating in highly volatile communities, should employ the services of PR experts in creating healthy relationships with the communities in which they operate. Advertising and Publicity11 We consider it necessary to draw a distinction between advertising and publicity. While advertising is the art of employing various media of communication to disseminate marketing information with the purpose of increasing or maintaining effective demand, and facilitating the sales of specific goods and services (products or ideas) at the expense of the company, publicity on the other hand means the dissemination of information concerning a firm and its product, made available to the public by various media of communication without charge to the firm because of its news worthiness or other value to the disseminators. However, advertising and publicity are both aimed at the same purpose, namely, enhancing market acceptability of a firm's products or services and goodwill. Purpose and scope of advertising There are at least four main factors that motivate a firm to advertise its products or services, depending on the firm's marketing objectives. These factors are as follows: 1.

To introduce a new product model or service to the market in order to generate awareness about the new product among members of the public;

2.

To facilitate or increase the sale of present or current products by constantly presenting or keeping the product before the market thereby sustaining awareness (the desire here usually is to achieve brand switch), off-setting the advertisement of competing products by competing firms (in Nigeria we find this strategy of "offensive" and "defensive" advertising mostly among brewers of alcoholic beverages) and reducing the amount of personal sales efforts required to secure an order;

3.

To enlighten the public as to the features and uses of the products, and by so doing reduce or overcome the influence of tradition or prejudices that may retard consumption; and

4.

To create or enhance company goodwill thereby maintaining or increasing present and future market receptiveness to the company's products or services.

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Whatever is the company's motivation for advertisement, however, adequate attention should be given to trends and shifts in the market. The advertiser's scope may be local, regional or national. It may even be international, depending on its target market and budget. In determining its scope, the advertiser should ensure that its distribution network is capable of supplying the goods or services advertised, in all the areas that the advertisement message would reach. The purchasing power of the audience reached should also be considered to make the advertising worthwhile. Criticisms of advertising There have been several theoretical opponents of mass advertising. Critics of advertising condemn it as promoting economic waste, diverting attention from needful public services to private consumption, of social irresponsibility, and of manipulating people psychologically to buy things they cannot afford by promising greater sex appeal, improved social status and other unrealistic expectations. Critics also charge that advertising is downright untruthful, and presents only positive information about products; that it perpetuates stereotypes of people; creates insecurity in order to sell goods, takes unfair advantage of children, makes society too materialistic, and contributes to crime and violence. Critics also condemn advertising for sometimes being offensive and in bad taste. They oppose advertising for becoming too overwhelming in quantity as to be undesirably disturbing; they also say that advertising debases language in conveying its messages, by taking liberty with language in the same way poets devised and have been indulged "poetic license". Arnold Toynbee was one of the critics of advertising practice of his time. In one of his bitterest criticisms, he wrote: "There is a limit, and a narrow one, to the quantity of goods that can be effectively possessed, in the sense of being genuinely enjoyed, by a single human being in a single lifetime ‌ The true end of man is not to possess the maximum amount of goods per head. When we are considering the demand for consumer goods, we have to distinguish between three things; our needs, our wants, and the unwanted demand, in excess of our genuine wants, that we allow the advertising trade to bully us into demanding if we are both rich enough and foolish enough to let ourselves be influenced by advertising". Toynbee's argument here is basically a moralistic one. In his opinion, man should pursue spiritual salvation based on (religious) morality and universally accepted virtues. Therefore, Toynbee seems to say, society should discourage materialism and promote spiritual salvation and social responsibility. 190


However, from time immemorial, scholars and philosophers have debated the relationship between material comfort and spiritual salvation in the life of man; that is, whether man, especially in the context of our present hyper-capitalist world, can do without material comfort while attending to purely spiritual matters. Available literature on the subject does not suggest a consensus yet in that respect. Thus the debate rages on. Also criticizing advertising practice, John Kenneth Gilbraith wrote; "Advertising operates exclusively … on behalf of private produced goods and services … . The engines of mass communication, in their highest stage of development, assail the eyes and ears of community on behalf of more beer but not more schools …. Every corner of the public psyche is canvassed by some of the nation's (USA's) most talented citizens to see if the desire for some merchantable product can be cultivated. No similar process operates on behalf of the non-merchantable services of the state"12. Gilbraith went on to say that the result of the foregoing is the deterioration of the environment and the condition of public life. According to Gilbraith, the excessive demand of society which advertising brings about leads to so much stress on public infrastructure and the cost of running government, especially the cost of social services. He then submits that advertising should balance the persuasion of consumers to buy more goods, with corresponding efforts to persuade consumers to willingly live up to their civic responsibilities; for instance, paying taxes needed to finance additional social services that the increase in consumers' demand brings about. Potter spoke in the same vein with Gilbraith and Toynbee when he wrote: "advertising has in its dynamics no motivation to seek the improvement of the individual or to impart qualities of social usefulness, unless conformity to material values may be so characterized …. It is this lack of institutional responsibility, this lack of inherent social purpose, to balance social power, which I would argue, is a basic cause for concern about the role of 13 advertising" . IN DEFENCE OF ADVERTISING Inspite of the above criticisms, however, apostles of advertising argue that it remains a potent force in the advancement of the goals of capitalist economies, especially in the promotion of competition which is the underlying factor and engine of creativity and development of the entrepreneurial spirit in society. Defenders of advertising and advertising professionals alike are not unmindful of the fact that advertising has been and is being practiced irresponsibly by some practitioners of the profession who are not yielding the proper fruit. However, they argue that the problem is not with advertising itself, but with some practitioners of the profession who undermine the ethics of their trade in the course of their practice. Using the analogy of a high-powered automobile, advertising professionals argue that if a drunk is at the wheel, there is a possibility of accident. The problem, they argue, is not the car but the drunk at the wheel. 191


Some of the wrong and illegal practices which even advertising professionals would readily admit as being unethical in advertising practice, include the following: 1.

False Promises: This is a situation whereby an advertiser promises consumers and prospects what the product is incapable of achieving or performing. In Nigeria this is mostly noticeable among advertisers of alternative medicine or what is called "traditional medicine" . Usually, such advertisers would claim that a bottle of concoction is capable of "curing all diseases of whatever character". In a depressed economy as ours where poverty, disease and want combine to compel helpless, hapless, innocent people to be gullible, if such false claims are unchecked, untold damage could be done to the health of so many people. Our regulatory agencies should stop such practices and insist on the advertiser proving the potency of such drugs before making such claims in advertisements.

2.

Bait and Switch Offers: Where the advertiser promises consumers and prospects some benefits if they patronize a product, only for the consumers to discover on purchase of such products that the benefits are only a hoax, only meant to goad them into buying such products. Visual Distortions: Where an advertiser deliberately manipulates a product in an advertisement to look larger or better than its true character.

3. 4.

False Testimonials: Here the advertiser uses celebrities who falsely represent to the consumers and prospects that they (the celebrities) use the products they are advertising when infact they don't.

5.

False and misleading comparisons: Here the advertiser makes consumers and prospects to believe that the advertiser's product is the best available brand in the line of products, or where the advertiser deliberately but falsely compares the product to objects, materials or concepts that do not belong to the category of the product advertised.

6.

Partial Disclosures: where emphasis is given to the good qualities of the product being advertised, without corresponding emphasis on the negative sides of the product.

7.

Incomplete Description: where an advertisement misleads the public to believe that all of the product being advertised is made of a given material when in fact only a part of the product is made of that material.

Other varieties of deceptive trade practices in advertising, exist. Government, 192


advertisers, advertising practitioners, professional bodies, the media and consumers, all realize that there is the need to ensure a more ethical and responsible advertising. They all see the need to promote, encode and enforce ethical standards of truth, accuracy, taste, social responsibility and morality in advertising. In order to achieve this, several regulators of advertising now exist to check the excesses of some practitioners of the trade, especially in protecting the gullible, the uneducated and the uninformed members of the public who have been the main victims of scandalous, false, and misleading advertising. The consumer needs to be protected. As Sydney Head rightly observed: "Caveat emptor may have made sense in an age when buyer and maker were neighbours and equally expert in judging the quality and worth of goods. But twentieth century 'amateur part-time buyer' faces a 'professional fulltime seller' of goods fabricated in some far-off computerized factory. The consumer can not possibly " be wary' of the infinite varieties of harm and deception that may lurk in the modern array of consumer goods"14. Thus there are legal and social regulators who protect consumers from the excesses of advertising. Regulators of Advertising Practice: 1. The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC): the NBC sets out a code of conduct; a body of rules to govern advertising meant for the broadcast media. Chapter four of the National Broadcasting Code establishes minimum ethical standards required of the advertising profession in packaging advertising materials meant for the broadcast media. Section 4.1.1 of the Code defines an advertisement as "any item of publicity or sales promotion inserted in the programme broadcast by any station, whether paid for or not, or whether by a client or by the licensee itself". The Code went on in section 4.1.2 to define a product as "a good or service". Sections 4.2.1 to 4.2.6 of the code set out general standards to be complied with by advertisements meant for the broadcast media. The general standards are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

That all advertisements on the broadcast media must be legal, honest, decent and truthful: Must conform to the programme guidelines contained in the Code; Must comply with general advertising ethics and with relevant aspects of the law-whether common or statutory law; All advertisements must promote confidence in advertising as a service to industry and to the public; thus advertisement materials must avoid anything likely to bring advertising into contempt; The Code makes it illegal for an advertisement to contain materials likely to encourage, incite to crime, lead to disorder or offend public feeling; it is also illegal for an advertisement to contain an offensive reference to any person alive or dead, or, generally disrespectful to human dignity. 193


6.

Any advertisement that offends the generality of the community is also considered illegal.

The Code further forbids advertisements in news forms such as presenting an advert under the caption "News Flash" or similar expressions characteristic of public announcements section 4.3.5. Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts shall be such as to be easily substantiated section 4.3.7; and statistics shall not be presented as to imply a greater validity than they really have section 4.3.8. The Code also makes it illegal to unduly discredit, disparage or unfairly attack competitors or competitor products or services- section 4.3.18; an advertisement should be rejected if there is reason to doubt its integrity or truth of its representation section 4.3.19; an advertisement which exploits superstition should be rejected- section 4.3.20; any advertisement which plays on fear in order to induce people to purchase the product or service advertised should be rejected, section 4.3.21; it is illegal to air an advertisement which has misleading descriptions, claims or illustrations about the product or service being advertised section 4.3.22; Direct Sales Advertisement should be rejected unless there is adequate assurance that there is sufficient stock of the advertised article or service to meet the demand section 4.3.23; the advertisement of fireworks and firearms is acceptable provided it promotes the product only as sporting equipment and conforms to recognized standards of safety, section 4.3.24; an advertisement which purports to increase sexual virility or correct sexual weakness should be rejected section 4.3.25; advertising of fortune-telling is forbidden section 4.3.26 ; advertisements of legalized lottery, or award, or price winning competitions are acceptable only in so far as they do not extort the public or unduly induce them to betting- section 4;3;27. The Code contains regulations relating to advertisements addressed to children or placed in or near children's programmes sections 4.4 to 4.4.9. In general, these sections of the Code admonish media houses to reject such advertisements where they are likely to exploit children or cause children moral, physical or mental harm, or make children feel inferior. Children are not to be used to demonstrate a product deemed potentially dangerous to them. The Code contains other regulations on advertising contents including tobacco, alcohol and beverages; political advertisements; advertisements of professional practice such as medicine, advertisement on contests, among others. Section 4.3.4 stipulates allowed time for advertisements within programmes. The section provides that "the amount of time for non-programme materials, especially advertisement, shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of total progarmme duration/slot. Thus, there is a 4½ minute limitation on advert time for a 30 minute programme and a 9minute limitation for a one-hour programme. 194


All broadcasting stations must comply with these regulations and others contained in the Code. The responsibility for the observance of regulations on advertisement contained in the code rests with the licensee, that is, the individual broadcasting stations respectively. Therefore, stations must ensure that any advertisement brought to them by their clients, whether directly by the advertiser or the advertiser's agent, complies with the regulations contained in the Code. This means that stations will be held responsible by the NBC where there is a violation of these regulations, and the NBC may apply appropriate sanctions in the event of such violations. Thus, the NBC's regulatory authority on advertising applies to all broadcasting stations. The NBC's regulatory activities on advertising constitute minimum legal restraints on advertising. 3. Self-Regulation by Advertisers: production and packaging of advertisements in the broadcast media, especially television, cost a lot of money. In the event of an advertisement being rejected for containing elements forbidden by the Code or for being against established ethical standards of the advertising profession, the advertiser loses his investment in the packaged material. Considerable goodwill could also be undermined where an advertisement is perceived to offend religious or moral sensibilities of a section of the public which may include the advertiser's target consumers or prospect. For these reasons, it is better for an advertiser to ensure that its packaged advertising materials comply with the entire ethical standards established by both the NBC and the advertising profession. This calls for proper screening of packaged advertisements before they are sent to the chosen media houses. At the screening stage, offensive aspects of the advert should be expunged. 3. Regulation by industries and Professions: Industries can regulate advertising. Members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, for instance, can establish rules on advertising, based on the NBC's regulations and other relevant laws, and insist that members must comply with them. Their members should realize that advertising, being a vital aspect of their respective trades, should accord with certain basic ethical standards. Erring members whose advertisements generate public outcry should receive adequate sanctions from their association. That way, the big stick of the NBC and the law, would be kept at bay. Also, professional bodies such as the legal and medical professions have laid out rules on advertisement. These professional bodies should continue to apply sanctions on members who violate such rules. Other professional bodies should follow the examples of the legal and medical associations by encoding certain dos and don'ts of their professions in respect of advertising. That way ethical standards can be sustained.

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4. Self-Regulation by the Advertising Profession: Advertising professionals have their individual and corporate integrity to protect. Advertising professionals in Nigeria have several associations which were formed with the aim, among others, of regulating advertising practice in the country, by encoding certain ethical standards to guide their members in their practice. Some of the advertising professional associations in Nigeria, currently, include the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigerian, APCON, and the Association of Advertising Professionals of Nigeria, AAPN. While APCON is an association of individual advertising professionals, AAPN is an association of corporate bodies (Advertising agencies) involved in a group of activities including research, strategic planning, preparation of advertisement, media planning and buying, and media monitoring. There is also the Advertisers Association of Nigeria, ADVAN. ADVAN is an association of advertisers - corporate bodies, including manufacturers, industries, service companies etc. who require, enlist and employ the services of Advertising Agencies and media houses in marketing their products and services. Though the ADVAN is a group of corporate bodies, the representatives of the corporate bodies in the association are mainly the heads of marketing and advertising departments who are by their training, schooled in advertising practice. The point we are making here is that advertising practitioners are best positioned to monitor and regulate advertising practice by ensuring that their members comply with all the ethical standards and relevant laws guiding the practice of the profession. They should collect and collate the different bodies of rules guiding the practice of advertising, including NBC's regulations and other laws, as well as the professional ethics of their profession. Any professional misconduct that brings advertising practice into contempt, by any practicing member of the profession or any corporate body involved in the practice of advertising, should receive adequate sanctions. That way, advertising practice would be socially responsible, accommodating, and responsive to the sensibilities and sensitivities of society. In particular, advertising agencies should research and verify claims by their clients before packaging such claims (especially on the quality and potency of products) into advertising messages or materials. Advertising agencies should be held liable for any fraudulent or misleading advertising claims. Indeed, the advertising fraternity owes a duty to society to carry on its trade with a sense of responsibility and professional excellence. 5. Regulation by Broadcast Media Houses: Station managers and their subordinates should protect their individual and corporate integrity. Broadcasting houses can individually and collectively regulate advertising practice in Nigeria. Every broadcasting station should preview advertising materials sent to it, before transmission, and should reject those they consider objectionable. They should reject any advertising material that offend established ethical standards of the 196


advertising profession, and advertising materials that violate relevant laws and regulations on advertising. In particular, media houses should reject advertising materials that offend moral virtues of society and also, advert materials that in any way offend the religious sensibilities of a section of the audiences of the station involved. Regulations on harmful products such as cigarettes and alcohol, should be religiously observed. Collectively, the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, BON. The Independent Broadcasting Association of Nigeria (IBAN) and other similar associations of broadcast media houses should articulate and enforce a body of rules to guide broadcasting stations on advertising. Erring members should be brought to book in the event of any determined unethical practice, such as where a broadcasting station accepts and airs an advertising material that had to its knowledge been rejected by another station for being unethical and offensive. 6. Regulation by consumer control (through consumer vigilance and activism): advertising deception can be checked through public pressure. A vigilant public is imperative. Where they detect any offensive material in any advertisement, the public should bring such to the notice of the NBC, the IBAN, the APCON, AAPN or any other regulatory agency. The public should demand redress from the regulatory agencies, either by demanding a desist order, or the application of sanctions on the advertiser, the media house and the advertising agency involved. Consumer advocacy groups should also stand up in protection of consumers by being vigilant, and reporting to relevant regulatory bodies, any offensive material in any advertising message. The buying public should demand not only that products perform as advertised, but also that more product information be provided so that people can compare and make better buying decisions. As product and service consumers, members of the public should more aggressively assert their right to be protected from false, misleading and injurious advertising. Consumer oriented organizations should also join in protecting the consumer. NATIONAL AGENCY FOR FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION AND CONTROL (NAFDAC): Advertising materials on food and drugs, including beverages, are first submitted to the NAFDAC for preview and endorsement before they are aired. However, it is now standard practice for some advertising agencies and advertisers alike to shortcut NAFDAC. This practice should stop. The NAFDAC is a government agency established for the purpose, among others, of protecting consumers from fake products, from sharp practices by food and drug manufacturers, especially in form of making misleading claims aimed at goading the public into buying and 197


using their advertised products. Any advertising agency or advertiser who bypasses the NAFDAC in packaging and airing advertising materials on food and drugs should be adequately penalized. The NAFDAC should on its part ensure that every advertisement on food and drugs products comply with laid down regulations. This is important as food and drugs have direct impact on the health of society. All of these regulatory bodies should champion the cause for a better ethical and responsible advertising practice. They should all detect, condemn and apply sanctions in the event of misrepresentations about product power, quality and content. They should all combine their efforts in reviewing, checking, controlling, and changing advertising for the better. BROADCAST MEDIA ADVERTISING: COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF TELEVISON AND RADIO Where a corporate body determines the need to advertise its products or services, and decides to do so, the question that may arise is which of the broadcast media should it use - radio or television, and what should be the scope of its advertising; local, regional or network? Generally the appropriate medium to use depends on a number of factors including the advertiser's target audience and market, the nature and volume of the advertiser's business products or services the advertiser's budget for advertising, among other factors. We shall make comparative analysis of radio and television media to see the advantages and limitations of (advertising on) each medium. Television: Advantages Contemporary television offers unique advantages to advertisers over competing media. Some of the advantages of television include the following:1. Combination of sound, video and motion: This is perhaps television's most unique advantage. Sound, video and motion are all combined at once to convey a message. This offers the opportunity of demonstrating the product in a way that would best create the desired effect on viewers. It is easier for viewers to believe messages on television than any other medium, as they are able to see the product. Identification of the product in the market place is also better enhanced by television. 2.

Empathy: TV's ability to combine sound, sight and motion also enhances viewers empathy towards the message (product) advertised.

3.

Potentials for Reaching Mass Audience: Though television sets are not widely available in most Third World homes, including Nigeria, TV nevertheless has tremendous audiences, a factor that considerably reduces 198


pre-exposure cost for each commercial, to a relatively low level. 4.

Ample Room for Creativity: Television offers commercial advertising producers ample room to exploit their creative talents in packaging advertising messages for the advertiser. Advertising messages are thus more effectively packaged for better heightened effect on consumers and prospects. Thus a well packaged advertising message, backed by good quality of product, ultimately pays off by way of big sales and acceptability in the market.

5.

Prestige: Television confers prestige on products and their producers. The audiences are impressed with a well-packaged advertising message on television, and would readily identify with and patronize the products and their makers. Viewer empathy is better guaranteed through advertising on television more than any other medium.

6.

Selectivity: Television offers advertisers wide opportunities of reaching their target audiences. It allows for segmentation of programming within different air-time segments that suit different products and audiences.

The above reasons make television a better medium for product marketing through advertising (for corporate bodies that can afford it) more than any other medium. Television also has considerable impact on leisure, politics, reading and culture. LIMITATIONS OF TELEVISION Inspite of television's immense advantages in product marketing, some advertisers are discouraged from using the medium for several reasons. Some of the reasons include the following: 1. Cost: Television is a costly medium. It costs a lot of money to produce television commercials. The cost of airtime on television is also considerably high compared to other media. Added to these is the cost of professional talents that are required in packaging television commercials. Celebrities are usually contracted in commercials, to confer credibility, status, goodwill, prestige, and product identification. And celebrities are known to charge so much for their services. Television receivers are costly and most homes are unable to afford one. Thus cost of television is a major inhibition to advertisers. 2. Brevity: As a result of the high cost of television commercials, especially the cost of airtime, TV commercials are usually condensed and compressed into usually 30 and 60 seconds. This makes it difficult to tell a product's story fully. Producers of commercials are thus always faced with a difficult task; effectively packaging an advertising message within a short time.

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3. Clutter: There are too many advertisements on television all competing for audience attention. The same product lines are sometimes aired in succession during "commercial break". This is capable of confusing the audience on what choice to make among the different brand names of same product line. Infact, audiences are becoming increasingly hostile to too much advertising which interferes with their enjoyment of television entertainment. 4. Discourages small advertisers: television's potentials for reaching mass audience is a great advantage to big advertisers. However, for small companies that need to reach just a small select audience, television may not be the best alternative, considering the fact that airtime costs are standardized, making no difference between small or big advertisers. RADIO Radio has several advantages over television. One of the major advantages of radio is its portability; it can be easily carried about. It is a source of relaxation, entertainment and information in practically everywhere; in the market place, at home, in the office, while driving, etc. without the listener losing attention. Radio lends itself easily to practically all categories of advertisers, big or small. Advantages of Advertising on Radio Radio has several advantages to advertisers. Some of these advantages include the following: 1. Reach: Radio is widely available in most Nigerian homes, in cars, and offices. This follows from the fact that radio sets are relatively cheap. Thus wide audiences can be reached by advertisers through the radio. 2. Cheap: The cost of packaging or producing a radio commercial is far cheaper than television. And airtime cost is cheaper on radio than television. 3. Various Audiences: Various audiences can be reached within a station's coverage area. Audiences of different age groups, incomes, sex, ethnic, social and religious backgrounds can be reached at different time segments. 4. Audience Empathy: Due to the fact that airtime on radio is relatively cheap, advertisers can afford to air their advertisements several times in a day. And repeated advertising compels empathy. LIMITATIONS 1. Sound: This is the major drawback that radio suffers: people can only hear but cannot see what is being advertised. Some products need to be seen to be understood. For the illiterate members of the audience, this could be a problem. It is easier for them to recognize a product they have seen on television than the one they hear on radio. 200


2. Competition: Reception of radio signals, especially in the Nigerian context, is easier than television. Consequently, there are too many radio stations competing for small markets. As broadcasting enters the private domain in Nigeria, competition among radio stations will be heightened. However, stations with a reputation for good programming will have a leverage over the rest. 3. Brief and Fleeting: Radio commercials are usually brief and fleeting, and because the advertisement is heard and not seen, considerable talent is required to make a lasting impression on the mind of the audience, in conveying the advertiser's message. ADVERTISING ON CABLE SATELLITE TELEVISION: THE RAGING DEBATE Currently, there is a raging debate between the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, and licensed cable satellite redistribution stations. The subject of the debate is simply this: should cable satellite retransmission stations be allowed to air advertisements on their channels? Licensed cable satellite operators want the NBC to allow them to air local advertisements on their channels. Their argument is that since they pay international cable stations royalties for the right to retransmit their programmes, and bearing in mind the cost of acquiring required equipment for their operations and their enormous operational costs, they cannot rely solely on fees they charge subscribers for their services. They demand that the NBC should allow them to slot in advertisements in-between programmes. The NBC has repeatedly refused to allow cable stations to air advertisements. The major reason for the NBC's refusal is that if advertisements are allowed on cable channels, local terrestrial television stations will suffer, as advertisers are most likely to advertise more on cable TV stations than on local television stations. The NBC insists that cable satellite stations knew from the on-set that theirs is fee (and not free) entertainment, relying on payment of subscription fees for survival and profit. Without prejudice to the argument advanced by the NBC, we believe that allowing cable satellite television operators to air local advertisements on their channels will not do any harm to local television stations. Cable satellite TV transmissions are scrambled, not open. They are received by a limited number of subscribers who pay for the progammes they receive. Compared to the wide reception of (open broadcast) local television stations within their respective areas of coverage, cable TV is received by a small fraction of television audiences. Besides, cable satellite TV subscribers belong to the above-average income groups. Thus, only a few products, especially products that only high income groups can afford, can be profitably advertised on cable TV. Moreover, the advent of private broadcasting 201


brings with it the promise of better programming on our local television stations. As soon as that happens, less people would subscribe to the services of cable TV stations. And even with the present inclination or desire of most people for cable satellite TV reception in their homes, the fact remains that subscribers tune in regularly to local television stations for news and other entertainment programmes. Thus cable TV, in our opinion, does not pose any threat to the revenue possibilities of local television stations. Cable TV operators should therefore be allowed to air local advertisements on their channels, provided that they do not interfere with programmes. And such advertisements should be few and far between so as not to annoy or offend subscribers. In any case, commercial international satellite stations whose programmes cable operators retransmit, regularly slot in paid advertisements on their programmes at intervals. A FEW YEARS LATER We must commend the concession granted by the NBC, namely, that cable TV stations could air sponsored progammes such as local drama, documentaries and news and give credit to the sponsors of such programmes at the beginning and at the end of the sponsored programmes, (but they cannot advertise the sponsor's products). However, we hope that the NBC will completely remove all restrictions on advertising on cable satellite (retransmission) TV stations to improve on their revenue potentials. After all, they are in business to make profits. CATEGORIES OF ADVERTISEMENTS IN THE BROADCAST MEDIA When a manufacturer or producer of goods and services determines that there is need to advertise his goods or services, and he decides to advertise, he has several alternatives or categories of advertising from which to choose, depending on his budget and target audience. Advertising agencies are reliable professionals in this respect. Below are the categories of advertising available in the broadcast media. They are: 1. Sole sponsorship: This is where the advertiser undertakes to bear the whole cost of presenting a programme alone, including cost of producing the programme and the cost of airtime. He takes the entire responsibility for production, programme content and the airtime costs. The two major advantages in sole sponsorship are: (1) The goodwill that will result from audience identification with the products or services of the sponsor the sponsor gains immense prestige from sponsoring a good progamme widely enjoyed among the audience; and, (2) The advertiser's or sponsor's book-keeping is made easier as one bill is sent by the broadcasting station. However, sole sponsorship has one major disadvantage, namely, the huge cost of taking responsibility for production, progamme content and airtime. It is indeed a very costly endeavour. But it is a rewarding venture.

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2. Joint-sponsorship: As a way of reducing cost, several companies may decide to co-operate in joint sponsorship, whereby each sponsor takes a segment of a progamme. 3. Participation/Commercial Spots: Here, the advertiser is not bothered with cost of production. Advertisements are run on clusters. It is open to any and every advertiser. Usually, the advertisements are all run at segments which stations refer to as "commercial break". Broadcasting is a very profitable enterprise. However, a station's ability to make profit depends on its popularity with its audiences, which itself depends on the quality of the station's programmes. Most importantly, the marketing department of a broadcasting station should be hard-working, creative and dynamic. Big and small advertisers should be given equal attention. Programmes should be designed and packaged to suit different categories of advertisers. Every producer of goods and services would want to reach more customers. They need the broadcast media. Cobblers, motor mechanics, upholstery makers, supermarkets and technicians generally: retailers, hoteliers, eateries and others need the broadcast media. Broadcasting stations can make immense revenue from them. Depending on the big advertisers (such as multinationals), alone, has denied broadcasting stations so much revenue possibilities in the past. Stations must also always produce, acquire and broadcast excellent programmes, especially programmes that are popular with Nigerian audiences. Sports is one big business in the broadcast media in Nigeria. Movies, musicals and drama also have great potentials. If well combined, different programme kinds will always find wider audiences while also attracting advertisers. Advertising Practice in Nigeria Advertising practice in Nigeria is still developing. It is yet to attain the level of excellence and heightened activity which the profession enjoys in developed countries. Here we shall look at some problems that hinder the full development of the industry in Nigeria. Chris A. Dughudje has identified four categories of advertisers in Nigeria. These are: 1. Multinationals: These are companies with branches in various countries. In Nigeria, such groups include oil companies, airlines, makers of beverages, motor - assembly plants etc 2. Foreign- owned manufacturing firms: these are organizations owned by foreigners who may not have any other branch outside Nigeria. 3.

Companies owned by Nigerians: These are mainly private owned companies. They are usually local manufacturers and importers of foreign 203


4.

goods. Government and its Agencies: this includes Federal, State and Local Governments and their parastatals.

While some of these groups of advertisers consider it a big favour to employ the services of an advertising (professional) organization, others see advertising as a waste of resources; as they believe that it takes undue toll on their profit targets. These, in our opinion, are misconceptions borne of ignorance. Infact, advertising, when properly packaged by talented professionals, is an investment in its own right, with short and long-term benefits. To better appreciate the attitude of these different categories of advertisers, we proceed to quote extensively, Chris A. Dughudje's comments on the subject, in a paper titled, The Advertising Function in 15 Marketing. According to Dughudje: "We have four broad categories of advertisers. The first is the international company or multinational company advertiser. With head-quarters in Europe or America, he is usually knowledgeable if not sophisticated in his approach to marketing and advertising. The complexion of his main representative, as far as agencies are concerned, is likely to be completely black ‌ . But this representative will be visited several times each year by a white consultant or co-ordinator from headquarters. Consequently, inspite of the black skin of the representative or Advertising manager or marketing manager or marketing director, he is likely to continue to perceive advertising (practice) as if he had white eyes and white ears. "The second advertiser is the resident Asiatic manufacturer. A few years back, he was merely a wholesaler. But since the promulgation of the 1972 Indigenisation Decree, he has become a manufacturer. Unschooled in proper marketing and advertising techniques, he is usually easy to please, though he can also be difficult and over-demanding. The main problem is that he cannot give you a good (advertising) brief. Therefore your (advertising) proposals might not be what he really wants. If the (Advertising) agency man can surmount that problem, he will be lucky not to be saddled with others like late settlement of bills or being treated as one of the 'messenger' managers in the advertiser's organization. "The third type of advertiser is the indigenous Nigerian manufacturer. He, too, is usually unschooled in marketing and advertising. To him advertising is merely an adhoc activity embarked upon to move his products whenever they are not selling. He invariably thinks he is doing the (advertising) agency a big favour by advertising, and cannot understand why so much money should be spent to advertise his products. This type is usually difficult to please and has not been known to settle bills promptly. "The fourth category is the government adviser. He usually equates advertising 204


with information or publicity. Consequently, he distrusts (advertising) agencies as he cannot understand why they should make money from preparing simple slogans and catch phrases which to him are 'useless embellishments'. He therefore prefers to deal directly with media houses through the ministry of information". The reason for the negative attitude of these different categories of people to advertising, can be located in the fact that there has been lacking, a deliberate and sustained effort to educate the proprietors, managers and top decision or policy makers in these different categories on the need for advertising and the need for professionals to handle advertising and how a proper combination of these can advance their corporate interests. The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, should organize periodic lectures and seminars to educate these categories of corporate decision makers on advertising practice and the need to use advertising professionals in packaging or carrying their messages across to their respective (target) audiences. Now, we need to dwell a little more on the indigenous Nigerian manufacturer. A good look at advertising statistics in Nigeria will reveal that over the years most advertisements on radio, television and other media vehicles emanate from the Lagos-Ibadan axis. They are mainly from multinationals and big corporate bodies. Yet considerable manufacturing activities are going on all over the country. For instance, manufacturing activities are high in the South-East of Nigeria, particularly in cities such as Onitsha, Nnewi, Aba, Port Harcourt, among others. Why are these industries not advertising? Our research reveals that some manufacturers in this area are involved in the making of imitations or counterfeits of brand names of products originally manufactured in Europe, America, Asia, and other advanced parts of the world. Nigerian manufacturers of these products cannot advertise them as doing so would bring them to the notice of the original owners of the trademarks who could upset their businesses through legal actions for redress against infringement on their trademarks. In some cases, the products manufactured by these Nigerian industries are of good quality as to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts. The attitude of these Nigerian manufacturers follow from current Nigerian mentality which views anything made in Nigeria as inferior. Consequently, the logic goes, it is safer, for instance, to have "made in Japan" or "made in USA" labels on products actually made in Nigeria, in order to have a better appeal to the Nigerian buyer. Nigerian manufacturers should be encouraged to disclose their true identity on their products and make a name for themselves in the process. We believe that Nigerians would identify with any product with good quality and good packaging. However, Nigerian consumers need a re-orientation. We should patronize made-in-Nigeria products while encouraging improvements in quality. Thus the APCON, AAPN and the government and people of Nigeria 205


should collectively encourage Nigerian manufacturers to be proud of their products and inscribe their individual or corporate trademarks on their products. By so doing, they would see the need to advertise their products which will eventually improve on the current records and volume of advertising practice in Nigeria. Secondly, a reasonable percentage of business activities in Nigeria belong to the trading category. What we do mostly in our commercial centers is trading. Most of our industries are actually assembly plants or distributors of imported products made in developed countries. It is hoped that in future (we hope that this will be sooner than later) when our economy will bounce back to life, manufacturers would be better encouraged. If that happens, advertising practice will experience a big boost in Nigeria. Another impediment to a boost in advertising practice in Nigeria is the attitude among some Nigerian manufacturers who believe that in a short supply situation and low capacity utilization as our economic climate is currently experiencing, especially in view of the continuing incidence of scarce raw materials for our industries, and the limited availability of the technology of mass production in our country today, there is no need to advertise, since demand is far above their supply capacity. Such manufacturers see advertising as an avoidable liability, which cuts their profit target. This is wrong. The fact that you enjoy relative monopoly of a brand today or that the demand for your product is far higher than what your current production capacity is, does not foreclose future competition. To neglect advertising at your boom period is to neglect your consumers, customers or buyers. To neglect advertising for such present purposes is to sacrifice the more enduring and futuristic long term benefits for fleeting, temporary short-term rewards. To be in good business you have to advertise to achieve 'brand leadership" which makes your brand name the "metaphor" of your product line, so that in future, when your brand faces stiff competition from new brand name owners of your product or service, you do not experience a set-back; you could still retain considerable consumer loyalty in favour of your brand. Advertising helps you to achieve brand leadership and consumer loyalty even in the face of emerging competition. Even where the new brand names are better than yours in quality, packaging or any other respect, the memory you have implanted in the minds of consumers of your product over the years through sustained advertising, remains and sustains your market share. Thus, whatever your demand versus-supply equation, you should advertise.

206


Another factor that discourages potential advertisers in Nigeria is the high cost of media. As Chris Dughudje rightly noted in a paper titled Reality of Media Situation Today: "In post-SAP Nigeria, it has become a monthly ritual for the media departments of advertising agencies and the pages of newspapers/magazines to be inundated with routine announcements of media rate increase. The rate increases are imposed either by individual (media houses) or collectively by the corporate association of 16 Radio/Television (and print) and outdoor operators" . Higher media rates translate to huge advertising budgets which scare advertisers away. Advertisers need to be encouraged. Media houses should evolve alternative ways of defraying operational costs rather than tasking the advertiser beyond endurance. Therefore, regular upward reviews of media rates is neither in the interest of the media houses, nor in the interest of the advert agencies. Indeed, it is counter-productive. It is suggested here that advert agencies can help their clients reduce cost of advertising. A good advertising practitioner should always be mindful of costs. He should give priority to cost-saving methods in packaging advertisements, in the interest of his client. This can be achieved through short advertisements that consume less space and time while conveying the advertiser's message distinctively and effectively, with the best desired impact on the consumer or potential buyer. This is desirable, bearing in mind that advert (media) rates are charged according to duration (electronic media) and space (print media). Though other considerations also influence media rates. For instance, prime-time periods of broadcast that best guarantee the highest audience viewership and attention, cost more than other time segments. In the print media, the position of an advert material determines its cost; for instance, the rate charged for an advert in, say, page five of a twenty-page newspaper, is naturally lower than the rate charged for ads contained in the front page, where every reader of the paper would first glance at when reading. So far, advertising practitioners in Nigeria are yet to achieve brevity and precision in vision and sound which would at the same time stimulate consumer desire in the product being advertised. This is a challenge to Nigerian advertising practitioners. They should learn to maximize time and space through highly creative advertisement contents that capture the interest of the audience (consumer) while saving costs for the advertisers who would consider their investment in the advert justified if it leads to more sales, acceptance and popularity. Advertisers resort to panicky measures in times of depression. They indiscriminately cut down on advert budgets and divert huge sums of money (from advert budgets) to non-media vehicles, such as promotions, gift items, etc. In some cases these advertisers in a hurried moment of panicky decision during depression, even resort to what is known as direct media purchase/Buying. This is wrong. By reducing advertising budget or even by not advertising at all during depression, the 207


advertiser denies himself the opportunity of bouncing back fully and easily when the depression is over. Depression comes and goes. But your customers or potential consumers of your product will always be there. You should keep them loyal to your product always. The practice of direct media purchase perhaps demands some attention here. Sometimes, the advertiser's decision to resort to direct media purchase is motivated by irresponsible behaviour on the part of some advertising agencies. It is not unusual to find some agencies holding on to funds which they collected in full from their client (the advertiser), meant to pay media houses after their advertisements have been aired as agreed. Sometimes such erring agencies hold such funds for too long, leading in some cases to the media houses blacklisting the agencies. When that happens, the media houses refuse to air advertisements sent in by the agency concerned; which is as good as blacklisting the innocent advertiser itself. When the advertiser gets to know about this, it reacts by dropping the agency concerned and in frustration and anger begins to deal directly with media houses. Though the advertiser's anger may be justified, it however amounts to an over-kill to resort to such extreme measures as direct media buying. Direct media buying is not in the best interest of the advertiser as he (by so doing) denies himself the benefit of the professional services which professional advertising agencies offer. Advertising agencies offer expert services at a low cost, compared to what it would ordinarily cost a company or advertiser if it handled its advertising itself. Because of the plethora of media vehicles available to an advertiser -media vehicles that each has its own peculiar characteristics and specialized requirements for advertising effectiveness, the services of advertising agencies become almost imperative. Apart from selection and purchasing of suitable space and airtime on behalf of his client (the advertiser), advertising agencies are highly specialized creative organizations who employ professionals and specialists in designing clients' advertisements. Advertising agencies also conduct research on which they base advertising recommendations for their clients, preparation of copy and strategy, based on scientific methods, aimed at accomplishing the corporate interests and objectives of the advertiser. The major source of revenue for advertising agencies is the discount they get from media houses they select in advertising clients' products or services. Usually, such discounts are in the neighbourhood of 15% of the volume of business the agencies brought to the media houses. These days, however, discounts are negotiable; they depend on what the parties (the media house and the advertising agency) both agree on. Companies who buy airtime themselves are not given discounts granted to advertising agencies. Thus, it can be seen that advertisers pay so little, compared to the invaluable services they get (almost free) from agencies. A company therefore stands to gain, by employing the services of an advertising agency. Media houses on their own part should discourage direct media purchase, in the interest of 208


advertising practice, in the interest of media houses themselves, advertising agencies, and the advertiser. Another problem facing advertising practice in Nigeria is lack of information on important aspects that are vital to the smooth development of the sector. Infact, the information industry in Nigeria is highly underdeveloped, if not neglected. There are no ready sources of information. Information is power. For any society in the modern world to develop, there has to be easy access to information. One has often wondered why there is yet to be a Nigerian equivalent of the likes of Dun and Bradstreets foreign organizations that have made considerable fortunes and a viable business of collecting and storing information on practically every subject that could be of interest and importance to business. Data collection and storage (made available to individuals and organizations who need them, at a fee) is a sector that is potentially viable. Private investors in Nigeria have over the years earned for themselves a most uncomplimentary reputation for having a high passion for "quick profit". In the process "trading and contracting" have become the obsession of every potential and real business man. In the process, long-term investments are trashed. Our investors should be less of traders and contractors and invest in viable businesses of the future, and not always pursuing quick money-spinning businesses that leave the future uncertain. The information sector is one area with huge potentials for profits. With regard to the dearth of relevant information or data that could enhance advertising practice in Nigeria, all practitioners of the industry have come short of innocence. For advertising to blossom, media houses, advertisers and advertising agencies must all be involved in collecting and updating statistical data on their current situations. Correct and current data on relevant matters such as audience profile, and current consumer behavioural patterns, should be readily available. Television and radio stations should have periodic updates on audience ratings and profiles listernership, viewership profiles. They should also have accurate data on set counts within their areas of coverage. The print media should also have readership profile (it can do this through the establishment of a credible Audit Bureau of Circulation ABC). Now, how can the problem of lack of relevant data in the media industry be solved? Chris Dughudje in a paper titled Reality of the Media Situation Today17 has suggested sponsored research by media owners which would provide such relevant data. In the alternative he advised associations of media owners to periodically request correct data from members and collate and supply same to agencies and advertisers. He went on to say that where it is impossible to get reliable information from media owners, agencies should come together and sponsor regular media research, and publish findings from time to time. In his opinion, if that is done, "the current false claims and counter claims will cease". With regard to the first and second solutions proffered by Dughudje, we are unable 209


to see how the same media houses who are involved (according to him) in the "current false claims and counter claims" could be trusted to give undoctored, objective and reliable reports of research in those areas that they have over the years made "false claims and counter claims" about, apparently in order to boost patronage of their respective media houses. We believe that the proper thing to do is to appoint an independent research organization whose duty it would be to collect and collate relevant data, based on thorough research. Media houses, advertising practitioners and advertisers alike can pull resources together to fund such research work. They can do this through their collective corporate associations such as BON, APCON, IBAN, AAPN and the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN). They should be motivated by the realization that for there to be sanity, trust, and development of their respective industries, there should be concerted efforts at establishing reliable and credible data collection and distribution methods. More importantly there should be launched, a massive education of all major actors in the advertising industry. Deliberate and sustained efforts should be made to create advertising consciousness among the citizenry and generate considerable public interest in advertising. Specifically, manufacturers, producers of goods and services of all categories, advertisers, advertising agencies and media owners generally, should be properly educated on the relevance of advertising to their respective corporate existence, and the need for co-operation among them all. It is perhaps important to caution here that advertising agencies should establish better parameters for determining proper advertising strategies in preparing and executing advertising proposals for their clients. Certain theoretical principles emanating from developed countries may not always be relevant to our peculiar realities. We should therefore discard such assumptions and adopt more realistic methods that accommodate our peculiar socio-economic, political and cultural milieu. It is only by so doing that advertising can take its rightful place among its fast growing peers in our economy. MEDIA MONTORING IN NIGERIA Over the years the media and allied industries have searched in vain for ways and means of effectively grappling with the challenge of finding media monitoring methods that will satisfy all concerned. Because of the magnitude of this problem, we have chosen to treat it under a separate subheading of its own. This problem can best be appreciated in a thought provoking question put forward by a commentator on Advertising practice in Nigeria. He queried: "Are our radio or television spots actually transmitted? If we have doubts, should we invest some money so as to find out the true situation?". Advertisers and advertising agencies in Nigeria have been confronted with one seemingly intractable problem, namely, effective monitoring of the media to ensure that paid adverts and sponsored programmes on the electronic media, the print media and even outdoor media are effectively carried in accordance with the 210


expectations (specifications) and desires of the advertiser or ad agency (in line with the terms of the contract between the media house and the ad agency or advertiser as the case may be). The lack of a credible and reliable monitoring method has been responsible for strained relationship between some advertising agencies and their clients (advertisers), resulting in the loss, sometimes, of good accounts. On the other hand, this has also resulted in serious loss of confidence in some media houses by both ad agencies and advertisers alike. Research reveals that a good percentage of paid advertisements or campaigns on radio and television stations in Nigeria are not effectively carried or aired by media houses across the country. Usually, advertisers domiciled in places distant from the media houses involved, are mostly the victims of this unfairness. Also, a reasonable percentage of aired or carried ads / campaigns on radio and television suffer from one or a combination of the following problems: i. Technical hiccups recurrent breakdown of transmission on account of obsolete equipment and scarce spare parts. Ii. Blurred pictures (visual problems) Iii. Inaudible sound (audio problems) Iv. Recurrent power failure and inefficient power back up systems V. Poor and erratic programme planning resulting in beginning paid programmes late and stopping them midway to give way to other scheduled peogrammes. A reasonable percentage of network programmes often suffer poor reception due to the inability of some stations on the network to hook up with the central source of transmission. This, however, is not the fault of the stations, but a consequence of our poor technological status as a nation, and the fact that we are yet to launch a satellite into space to improve our communication systems. However, an advertiser paying the price of Nation-wide reception, deserves to get just that and nothing less. He should be entitled to some make good at least, or a refund of some of his money commensurate with lost reception, since it is assumed that advert rates are charged on per viewer basis. Some advertisers have sought to overcome the problem of poor reception of network transmission in some parts of the country by syndicating programmes among selected television and radio stations across the country. Under this arrangement, pre-recorded programmes are sent to chosen television and radio stations across the country. The programmes are then broadcast simultaneously by the different stations on the network. Inspite of this innovation, however, there is still the problem of monitoring the stations to ensure that they air the programmes and adverts/campaigns as agreed between the media houses and the advertiser or their agents. For instance, it was discovered sometime ago, that a television station in the South-East of the country did not air even one episode of a serial 211


(programme) it was paid by an agency based in Lagos to transmit, for a whole quarter! The advert agency that sent and paid for the programme only knew about the default two quarters later!. The foregoing revelations all point to the fact that advertisers are being short-changed. They are not getting their money's worth on their investment in advertising. This is unfair. Even the print and outdoor media are also part of this unfairness to the advertiser. With respect to outdoor advertising - billboards etc it has been discovered that a reasonable percentage of advertisements, usually placed along our highways, are either not visible, or are broken, or suffer electrical faults (in case of electronic billboards) or are placed in ineffective locations. Usually the advertiser is too far away to notice. In the print media the problem appears by way of poor colour and poor print quality which all make the advertiser's message unreadable. Sometimes the advertiser is given less space than he paid for. As a result of the foregoing and some other factors as well, less than the projected percentage of the advertiser's target audience - viewers, readers, listeners are actually reached. The Certificate of Performance (CP) is a piece of paper issued by media houses as evidence that an advertiser's message - programme or advert/campaign - has been duly aired as agreed. It is an affidavit of performance-more or less a legal proof that the advertiser got what he paid for. Usually, the practice is for agencies to collect CPs from media houses which they present to their client (the advertiser) as evidence that their message has been aired. No effort is made to be sure that such media houses actually aired the advertiser's message. Even where the ad agency honesty monitored the media houses and correctly represents to the advertiser that his message has been aired effectively, such representation may not completely rule out some doubt in the advertiser's mind. Thus, the CP is no longer a reliable evidence of performance. What is needed, we believe, is a reliable INDEPENDENT MEDIA MONITOR that can function effectively as the 'midwife' between the advertiser, the advert agencies, and media houses. These three groups of practitioners in the advertising industry all stand to gain from the services of an Independent Monitoring body: the advertiser and ad agencies are then assured that their adverts are carried by the media houses, while the media houses are given the opportunity of proving that they have discharged their duties effectively without doubts in the minds of either the advertiser or the ad agency. In all cases, trust and confidence will be boosted. However, there is a problem here namely; who will fund the services of such an independent media monitor. It is suggested that since the media houses, ad agencies and advertisers all stand to gain, they can all pull resources together, annually, to fund the project. They can do this by setting aside some money from their individual associations BON, APCON, AAPN and ADVAN, every year, for that purpose. With particular reference to advertisers, in our enlightened opinion, an advertiser should be prepared to invest between 10 and 15% of its advertising budget per annum in 212


monitoring its paid advertisements to ensure effective performance. FUNCTIONS OF THE MONITORING BODY With regard to the broadcast media - radio and television - the independent media monitoring body can render services in the following areas: -

what paid adverts/campaigns or programmes are aired by media houses. Duration of the campaign or programme Time the campaign or programme is aired. Quality of transmission was it clear? Audible? Note technical hiccups, if any Note intervals that adverts/campaigns were aired within programmes Monitor reception of programs within coverage area. Note break in transmission in station; for instance, whether there was power failure during transmission, how long the power failure lasted and how this affected advertisers' paid campaigns or sponsored programmes. Periodic studies, research and polls on effects of advertisers message or campaigns on target audience Ascertaining viewers reaction (impression, likeness or criticism of programmes or adverts) and audience suggestions for improvements, as to time of advert or programme, role of casts, regularity and timing of ads within programmes, style of presentation, delivery and content of programme, picture and sound quality of transmission etc.

The media monitoring body will look out for the following in monitoring outdoor advertising. Quality of billboard or other outdoor media Quality of pictures on billboard Size of billboard and pictures Whether billboard is strategically located Visibility of billboard e.g. whether other billboards, trees etc. are blocking effective view, and suggesting ways of improving visibility to achieve desired effect on passersby, moving vehicles etc. Visibility at night. Effect of rain, wind, fire or other natural forces on billboard and pictures When billboard and pictures need to be replaced or repaired Note markings by local authorities on billboards Report damage by rioters or mischief makers On the print media, the monitoring body could monitor the following: Adverts carried in newspapers, magazines etc. Space and size of advert Colour and quality of print Ascertain circulation profiles, readership of different newspapers, 213


magazines. The Independent Media Monitoring Organization may also periodically carry out set-counts, to ascertain the number of radio and television sets available in different parts of the country. In our considered opinion the establishment and services of Independent media monitors as proposed above is imperative especially as broadcasting enters the private domain in Nigeria. 64

REFERENCES

* Culled from Chris A. Dughudje's paper, Reality of the Media Situation Today. Chris A. Dughudje's papers have been most helpful in writing this Chapter particularly on the aspect of practical issues in Advertising practice in Nigeria. We are indebted. 1.

Culled from a paper presented by Chris A. Dughudje, Titled, The Role of Advertising in Marketing, 1994, Lagos. Page 2. 2.

Ibid at page 2.

3.

Ibid at page 3

4.

Ibid at pages 2 to 3

5.

Max Rubin, The Lawful Pursuit of Gain (Boston: Houghton Mufflin, 1931), Page 57

6.

Sydney W. Head, Broadcasting in America; A Survey of Television and 214


Radio, 1972, Houton Mufflin Company, a div. of Harpers & Row, page 247 7. 8. 9.

Ibid at page 248. Called from Chris A. Dughudje's paper "The Challenge of Integrated Marketing Communications, 1994, page 2. Ibid at page 2

10.

Ibid at page 2

11.

For more on this subject see John A Shubin, Business Management: An Introduction to Business and Industry, Bernes & Noble Books, a div. of Harper & Row, page 249-250.

12.

Culled from Sydney W. Head Ibid

13.

Culled from Sydney W. Head Ibid

14.

Sydney W. Head Ibid at page 482

15.

Culled from Chris A Dughudje's paper titled "The Advertising Function in Marketing, Lagos, 1994, pages 4-5.

16.

Culled from the paper "Reality of the Media Situation Today", presented by Chris. A. Dughudje at a Workshop on "Current Trends in Marketing Media Space/Airtime" held at Sheraton Hotel Ikeja, Nigeria, may 19-20, 1993, page 5. 17.

Ibid at page 5

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CHAPTER SEVEN

BROADCAST MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA As a result of government ownership, control and monopoly of the broadcast media in Nigeria over the years, not much has been achieved in terms of development and improvement in broadcast management in the country. Appointments to commanding heights of broadcast stations have been guided by politics rather than by ability, experience and expertise. Broadcast managers have always strained to keep their jobs not by performing excellently by meeting the expectations of their audiences, but by playing politics and doing the wishes of their appointees government officials. Broadcast managers have made sycophancy an art, sometimes misleading government officials who are given erroneous impression by praise singers that they are doing fine in governance. Thus government-owned broadcast stations became propaganda machinery of the political party in control of statecraft, or military apologists and agents of perpetuation of dictatorship. With the deregulation of the broadcast media in Nigeria however, there is so much hope for change and reversal of the situation. Private broadcast licensees are likely to succumb to the temptation of recruiting their station managers or departmental managers from the ranks of managers of government owned media houses. While some of these past and current broadcast managers of government owned stations have performed well and thus could be shouldered with the responsibility of managing a private broadcast station efficiently, caution should, however, be exercised. For, perhaps, nowhere else is the saying that "not all that glitters is gold" more profoundly relevant than in this particular respect. A complete re-orientation of broadcast managers in Nigeria is required in order to prepare them for the challenges of broadcast management in this new millennium and in a competitive commercial broadcasting environment. Thus, we deem it necessary to dedicate a chapter of this book to broadcast management. In their book, Management Process and Organizational Behaviour, Alan C. Filley and Robert J. House defined management as: " a process, mental and physical, whereby subordinates are brought to execute 1 prescribed formal duties and to accomplish certain given objectives" George R. Terry, in his book Principles of Management, defined management as: " a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating and 216


controlling, performed to determine and accomplish (set) objectives"2 Broadcast management is a combination of activities such as leadership, planning, staffing, controlling and monitoring, aimed at achieving the set organizational objectives of a broadcast station. Such activities must be collaborative and flexible while encouraging initiative, ingenuity, creativity and self- direction. Such management must be capable of identifying, unifying and satisfying what George R. Terry3 identifies as the "wants" of the different categories of people within or involved in an organization, namely: 1. Owners want: the expectation of the owners of the organization that the enterprise be kept solvent and efficiently operated in order to achieve: a. a fair return on their investment capital b. current information about the status and prospects of the enterprise; c. greatest possible efficient utilization of facilities and d. long range planning for stability and growth. 2. Employees Want: Employees of an organization are encouraged to give of their best where they are guaranteed good remuneration, adequate compensation, recognition and commendation for their efforts, protection and security from accidents, sickness, old age; steady employment, completeness of daily living, information about what is going on, etc. 3. The Public Want: the public expectations of an organization are that goods and services be available at fair prices; greater usefulness by improvements in goods and services (in the case of broadcasting, good programming and clear reception), harmonious relations among owners, employees and managers; and more fulfilling life-style provided by these goods and services (entertainment, information and education) The station manager must keep all these wants in view, and ensure collective efforts aimed at satisfying them. The Board of Directors enunciates the broadcast goals of the station. The station manager is shouldered with the responsibility of designing strategies through planning, to achieve these set goals, and the relationship of the organization with outside agencies in society, and with the society at large. The burden of ensuring the productivity and efficiency of staff, materials and facilities with which they work, falls on the station manager. A manager is a leader. A leader is a man or woman who can take a person or a group of persons further than they can go on their own.4 A station manager must possess that essential ability to motivate others to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. He must be capable of motivating people to get the job done. Where, due to lack of competent personnel, or lack of commitment of 217


some personnel, or where the station manager has an orientation to perfection, especially in certain vital areas to the station's goals, the station manager should be capable of getting the job done himself, knowing that success or failure of the organization will ultimately be credited to or blamed on him. The station manager has the responsibility of ensuring that the station's broad corporate objective and mission are accomplished through effective use of personnel, materials and equipment and guiding the efficient use of time, processes and procedures in the organization. He is the overseer of the capital invested in the organization, and is responsible for daily deployment of cash for the running of the organization. The station manager spends time 'planning and coordinating"5, the work of other departmental heads who report to him, and of those other persons who report directly to him. But he leaves to departmental heads, the details of accomplishing the plans that he has formulated and communicated (ideally in consultation with the departmental heads) to them. He must watch over costs and plan policies. He has to "give others vision and ability to perform. It is 6 vision and moral responsibility that, in the final analysis, define the manager" Management is perceived more as an art than a science because much of the manager's work is solving problems among people. For this reason, experts have recommended a manager's acquisition of skills of social interaction in addition to detailed knowledge and experience of an enterprise's operation. Thus, such skills and systems as supervisory methods in leadership, communication, counseling, brainstorming sessions and group dynamics and the use of staff and delegation, are imperative. The manager should be able to understand people's abilities and their needs for him to be able to motivate them to give of their very best in realization of the corporate objectives of the organization, as well as the achievement of set targets and goals of the management and the Board of Directors. The station manager must be patient enough to always direct and correct his staff. He should always resist the temptation of firing his staff at the slightest provocation or "incompetence". Firing staff that way breeds insecurity among staff and reduces staff morale. A broadcast station is a cultural organization with profound impact on all ramifications of society. Therefore, a broadcast manager must be proficient in a field that is a unique blending of public utility, private business and showmanship. And in a complex socio-cultural setting as ours, such proficiency becomes even the more imperative. The broadcast manager should therefore understand the different ethnic, cultural, religious and political configurations of his station's coverage area. He should also understand the sensibilities and sensitivities of the people; he should have a general understanding of human nature, as they affect his personnel and the general public. He must be articulate; he must be a good talker 218


and must be able to mix with people freely and easily - he must be sociable. He must be capable of generating enthusiasm in people, to their work. He must have tremendous charisma. Direction, friendliness, enthusiasm, affection, integrity, ability to master technical details and mechanisms; of decisiveness, intelligence, teaching skill and faith, are some other skills a broadcast manager must possess, in addition to good, inspiring leadership, versatility, knowledge, judgement, personal integrity, sense of responsibility, dedication and commitment, as well as positive attitude towards work, and showmanship. A cordial and friendly relationship between the broadcast manager and all levels of his personnel is also imperative, as broadcast excellence demands the flowing of individual talents into 7 one corporate pool . He must understand the aspirations of his personnel and should show interest in their development and growth. The manager must also show: "respect for (his) personnel dignity and worth (and) concern for their success on the job, (and ) their safety and health‌ (He must also accept) their limitations (and show) appreciation of their abilities (and ) understanding of their needs for security, fair play, approval, belonging, importance and recognition (as well as ) willingness to listen to them, to try to understand them, to spare them from unnecessary unpleasantness and worry"8 A broadcast manager must "come down" to the level of his sub-ordinates to be able to feel their pulses and relate cordially with them. There is no place for arrogance in broadcast station management. While he should be able to delegate jobs to capable hands, the broadcast manager should know what jobs cannot be delegated which he must handle himself. He should understand perfectly the policies and procedures, goals and objectives of the enterprise and co-ordinate the activities of all personnel to achieve them. He should be capable of communicating effectively with his staff so as to engender collaborative efforts in actualizing corporate objectives. Firmness, ability to listen attentively, to read between the lines and understand the bearing of statements, are also essential. The station manager must be skilled in policy planning and implementation. He should be able to design long term and short-term plans, which make possible, scientific and realistic projections into the future, while answering to present circumstances, and increasing efficiency and anticipating emergencies. Systematic practical methods of implementation of policies are essential to the overall corporate success of a broadcast station. A broadcast manager should have the ability to recognize a talent from a distance. He should find, nurture, encourage, groom and develop talents, creativity and devotion to duty. He must be amiable, down-to-earth, unassuming, accommodating and tolerant, with a good sense of humour. He must, as someone has said, be a specialist and a generalist. 219


The commercial broadcast station exists to offer community service while making profit for its shareholders. A deregulated broadcasting system brings with it competition among licensed stations within a given area. Such competition could become aggressive as every station labours to attract listeners and viewers, as well as advertisers whose major concern is to reach the highest number of their target consumers - viewers and listeners - with their messages. Such a situation demands creativity, originality, innovation and hard work. A station manager should be able to meet the demanding challenges of such competitive environment. He must think in terms of his station's market and audience. He should set goals for his station periodically, and apply every effort to achieving them. He must work towards expanding the listenership or viewership (audiences) of his station through better programming while making profit for shareholders. The station manager must understand the importance of well-motivated personnel in a broadcast station. As Collin Cherry rightly noted in his book World Communication : Threat or Promise: "Communication media have, of course no power whatsoever in themselves. They are dead, inanimate things. The power resides in the people who use them"9 Quaal and Brown in their book Broadcast Management spoke in the same vein: "No other element of the broadcasting enterprise is capable of delivering as great a return on investment as its human resources. Superior physical plants and technical facilities depreciate in net worth over a period of years. But the values of 10 people to a station should increase as their period of employment lengthens" Thus a station manager must give adequate attention to his human resources, which he must consider the station's greatest assets, and treat them as such, for broadcasting is a people oriented enterprise. Flexibility should take the place of rigid organizational structures. Watertight departmentalization of functions inhibits a broadcast station's creative flow. All roles and functions between departments and designations are interdependent and interrelated. Thus flexibility is imperative. The station staff should interact and communicate freely with one another to enhance collaboration and cooperation. A station manager must have his ears to the ground and be watchful to detect enmities, quarrels and mutual suspicion among staff. He should always intervene where such strains in relationships exist and settle them amicably. We suggest weekly meetings with all categories of staff at which general station progress, problems and policies are discussed, and individual suggestions welcome from every staff on ways of improving the station's output. Thus a two-way communication system should be created. And staff should have easy access to management. The station manager should not underestimate anybody's creative powers, as ideas are the driving force 220


of a station's excellence. Recognizing highly imaginative, creative and brilliant minds even among the lowest categories of staff, is essential. The station manager must commend every idea, every proposal made by every staff, even if such idea or proposal is impracticable, so as to keep ideas flowing without inhibitions. Weekly brainstorming sessions should be held in every department and proposals emanating therefrom should be tendered at higher management meetings and names of contributors mentioned and commended. Such contributors should be commended while also giving credit to all, to avoid sowing seeds of jealousy. Every staff must have the well being of the audience at heart and they should consider it their primary duty to meet the reasonable expectations and interests of the station's audiences and viewers. They should keep their audiences and viewers well informed, entertained and educated. Thus they should all be encouraged to know their environment; the people, philosophy, social, cultural and religious ways of the coverage area. Thus local publications and literature on the people within the coverage area of the station should be readily available to staff. A profound intellectual understanding of issues, policies, patterns of possible actions and the predictable consequences of given decisions or actions is important. In recruiting staff, emphasis should not be laid on experience or educational qualification. What is important is ability to learn fast and to work hard. During recruitment interviews, employers should look out among applicants, for good knowledge of the broadcast industry; for personality, manners, appearance, sincerity, emotional stability, intelligence, the ability to articulate and listen, to communicate effectively, energy, enthusiasm, composure, humour, vibrancy, intellect, drive, maturity, imagination, ingenuity, open-mindedness, objectivity, clear-headedness, reliability, good habits, ability to work with others, and healthy opinions and attitudes about broadcasting. Rather than shop in existing stations for staff, broadcast stations should recruit fresh hands and groom them under the supervision of experienced hands among the station management. This has the potential of building strong loyalty, as such staff would see the station as their own, deserving of their very best, in total devotion and hardwork. From the very beginning, staff of the station should be made to know that the audiences are the purpose, the reason for which the station exists; that advertisers are interested in the station only as far as the station is able to reach and satisfy wide and far audiences - viewers and listeners, cutting across different age, education, income and other categories. They must know that their primary assignment as staff of a broadcast station is to satisfy both the audience (viewers and listeners) and advertisers. Majority of the audiences should be targeted in programming and general station's policy and broadcast contents, though sometimes standards may be raised, for while it its advisable to "give the people what they want most of the time, (stations should also give them) a little of what they would want if they knew 11 better" . A proper balance between responsibility toward the public and the 221


commercial interests of the station should be struck. Thus stations should not always be guided by commercial considerations but must sometimes concern themselves only with the interests of the public by designing public interest progammes, which may not readily find corporate sponsors. In the words of William L. Rivers and Wilbur Schram, in their book, Responsibility in Mass 12 Communication , the multiple purpose of mass communication consist of helping us to articulate and be forewarned about approaching events and their patterns (in the arts as well as public affairs); to correlate our responses to coming challenges and opportunities, to reach consensus on social action; to transmit our culture; to entertain us; and to sell goods and services. Thus certain programme contents must involve value judgments about people, about society at large, about events within it and about society's collective ways and values. Stations must help inculcate and project the values and benefits of enduring democracy. It is important to always bear in mind that the broadcast spectrum, which is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, is public property. It belongs to the people. Thus broadcast stations must show gratitude to the public for providing them use of the airwaves. The responsibilities of the mass media are enormous. Fredrick C. Whiteney in his book Mass Media and Mass Communications in Society explains that the mass media:"informs, it keeps one up-to-date. It educates, broadens, and deepens one's perspectives. It persuades, it sells goods and services and candidates and opinions. It entertains, it creates laughter, it fills a void. It costs money and it makes money."13 Thus the interest of the public must not be sacrificed on the alter of profits. A broadcast station must not emphasis economic strength to the detriment of other capabilities and responsibilities to society. To do so would be to compromise standards, and would amount to short-changing the public and taking them for a ride. A station must keep abreast with the changing tastes of its audience and adapt to them. Stations must design effective feedback methods to know the feelings of the audience about their broadcast outputs. That way, stations can identify their share of the market, provide and develop programme contents that suit that market share. Good programming expands a station's listenership and determines a station's popularity among competitors. DEPARTMENTAL MANAGERS In recruiting departmental managers, care should be taken to ensure that the right hands are hired. Every department in a broadcast station has its peculiar characteristics. Only people who understand the demands of such departments and are specialized in such areas should be hired, especially in a profit-oriented private 222


broadcast station where quality should not be compromised if the station must remain relevant and survive in an increasingly competitive environment. PROGRAMMES DEPARTMENT Programmes are to a broadcast station what products are to a manufacturing company. Quality is of the essence. Good programmes properly scheduled in the right time-slots, attract wide audience. Advertisers who provide broadcast stations' revenue are also attracted by stations' good programming and the audiences of the stations. Thus the programmes department of a broadcast station is perhaps the most important department on which all other departments depend. The department requires adequate facilities, good budget and most importantly, creative staff, to succeed. While ready-made programmes may be available to fill in a station's available airtime, in-house programmes that are designed for the audiences of a stations' coverage area, must also be produced. This demands availability of imaginative, creative minds. The programmes department manager should be a creative person who should understand that the station depends on the department for its output. He must be a good motivator. He must be capable of getting the very best from his subordinate staff. He must love show business. He must know the coverage area of the station very much; the peculiar problems of the coverage area, the culture, politics and world view of the area, and should be capable of designing programmes that address these problems, and programmes that accommodate the positive aspects of the culture and world view of the area, while discouraging unhealthy practices. He must ensure that generally, the station's programmes have socially redeeming values. A programmes manager should also monitor other broadcast stations within his station's coverage area and provide competitive programmes with a view to maintaining a leadership position in the market. SALES DEPARTMENT The sales or commercial or marketing department has the responsibility of selling the station's output. The department requires committed, go-getting staff. The manager of the commercial department should be someone who has a good experience as a salesman in a broadcast station, preferably a private broadcast station, because most commercial departments in government-owned stations are not known to have an encouraging robust record in revenue generation as they have had to depend largely on government subventions in their operation. The manager of the commercial department must be experienced in marketing, cost control methods, the dynamics of sales analysis and must be ready to join his subordinate staff whenever there is need to do so in their revenue drive, and must be a good organizer; must understand different sectors of the economy and must 223


have a cordial relationship with company executives in his station's coverage area, especially potential advertisers, chambers of commerce and trade groups of associations, and advertising agencies, and stations reps. The commercial manager must always have up-dated demographic information about his coverage area. ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT The engineering department has the technical responsibility of anticipating, locating and correcting faults in the broadcast equipment of a broadcast station. The staff of this department must be innovative and should be good at improvising in the absence of spares. The manager of the Engineering department must be a practical engineering professional. He must be very knowledgeable in the technical aspects of broadcast engineering. He should not be the type that sits in his air-conditioned office, treating files and giving directives. He should be present to direct, supervise and even participate in repairs and installations whenever occasion warrants. He must also be a good manager of men. He must make regular checks of station's equipment and not wait until a fault arises. He must thoroughly understand and communicate the station's policy to his staff. He must liaise regularly with the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, about technical operations. He must be cost-conscious. He must be quality conscious. He must be abreast with new technologies in broadcasting and maintain regular contacts with his professional colleagues, especially his counterparts in other broadcast stations. He must be aware that the engineering department can make the difference between one station and another. Only very experienced engineers in the broadcasting industry should be hired to head a private commercial station's engineering department. Happily, experienced and efficient broadcast engineers are by no means in short supply in Nigeria. It is a credit to the very innovative engineers in broadcasting organizations in Nigeria, especially government-owned broadcast stations, that they have kept several stations in operation for very long, even when available equipment outlived their lifespan without adequate back-up spares, owing to government neglect or inadequate funding. Other departments such as Administration and Accounts follow general requirements and specialization in their respective disciplines. In addition, managers of these departments must have good general knowledge of the broadcast industry and the idiosyncrasy and eccentricity of the staff of broadcasting stations and the challenges and difficulties broadcast staff face daily in their demanding duties.

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LEGAL ADVICE A broadcast station requires legal advice in so many areas of its operations such as labour problems, defamation by libel and slander, fraudulent and misleading advertising, over commercialization, compliance with NBC's Code and other relevant legislation governing broadcasting, lottery laws, obscenity, censorship and copyright laws, right of privacy, right to access, editorializing, promotions and contests, broadcast contents on controversial issues of public importance, equal airtime and political broadcasts, station's contractual obligations to organizations and people it deals with, agreements etc. Thus the need for a lawyer in a broadcast organization cannot be over-emphasized. A broadcast station could have a lawyer permanently in the station's employment, while also maintaining a retainership with a law firm. The rationale is that while the lawyer-staff concentrates on the highly demanding daily legal matters of the station, the law firm would complement the job of the lawyer-employee. The law firm is also useful in the event of litigations involving the station. PROFESSIONALISM The management of a broadcast station must insist on professionalism in all ramifications of the station's operations. The interests of the society generally and the audience of the station in particular are paramount. Broadcast stations management must ensure that their stations' output respect human values and build their reputation and integrity around those values. The management, the staff generally, and the entire operations of their stations, must be driven by the zeal to serve humanity, knowing that their output affect the human spirit either positively or negatively and could elevate or degrade human dignity. It all depends on the management and staff of the stations. In the words of Robert H. Coddington: "the potential state of the broadcasting art today is extremely high, both technically and artistically. Whether in practice the medium advances at the rate of broadcasting's early evolution, or whether it settles for a status of mediocrity will be entirely up to those who man the profession. We cannot look to the public for l e a d e r s h i p i n a n a re a w h e re t h e y h a v e n o e x p e r t i s e , ‌ we must exercise our own initiative with an unyielding dedication to increasing professionalism."14 FACTORS THAT HAVE HINDERED THE DEVELOPMENT OF EFFECTIVE BROADCAST MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA In Chapter two of this book we discussed the problems facing government-owned broadcast stations. And we made our modest efforts to proffer solutions to those 225


problems. Our major focus in that chapter was to look at the institutional problems facing government-owned broadcast stations. In order words, we looked at the problems from the perspective of what the owner-government of these stations did wrong and what they failed to do. Having looked at the general principles of broadcast management, as we have done earlier in this chapter, we deem it necessary here to look at the factors that have hindered the development of effective broadcast management in Nigeria. Here, we shall dwell mostly on the attitude of the station manager of government-owned broadcast stations, though in certain cases we shall also expand our focus to embrace the owner-government and place the blame on their table where occasion warrants. 1. Appointment of broadcast station managers: Not a few broadcast managers of government-owned media are political creations. Station managers are appointed usually outside the mould of experienced and capable hands who have grown in these stations even from junior to senior staff levels. In some exceptional cases where experienced station managers were appointed, government also appointed Board members from the league of politicians who know next to nothing about broadcasting. Usually, the station manager is subject and subordinate to the Board members who are almost always meddlesome interlopers in all aspects of the station's operations. The result of this state-ofaffairs is that the station became veritable mouthpiece of the political party in power and the interests of the audience, the general public, suffered relegation to the background. Imaginative, creative and innovative management also suffered, and the station manager became a mere figurehead, an errand boy who followed the dictates of his political mentors and benefactors that appointed him. This is unacceptable. Governments transcend the political parties under which they rode to power. The broadcast spectrum belongs to the people and must be used to serve them, especially where the stations are financed with the taxpayers' money. It is immoral and indeed a breach of trust to short-change the people in this way. Thus to appoint people who have little or no knowledge of broadcast management to head such establishments, is wrong. Only people with knowledge of broadcasting, who are knowledgeable in advertising and general broadcast operations, should be appointed to head such organizations. And as the responsibilities of government increasingly multiply, without commensurate increase in government revenue, a government-owned, self-sustaining broadcast media becomes imperative, as subventions to finance public broadcast stations decrease on account of limited resources at the disposal of government. Only experienced station managers can help achieve selfsustenance in government owned broadcast stations. 2. Lack of continuity: In a government-owned broadcast station in the Southeast, four General Mangers were appointed in just one year. This translates to 226


one General Manager per quarter. This high turn-over of managers hinders the development of broadcast management. In most cases, every new General Manager came with his own style and overturned progress his predecessor had made. This leads to confusion in policy and targets. The station suffers serious drawback as a result. 3. Lack of planning: In response to the innovation of marathon (twentyfour hours) broadcasting initiated by a television station within the same location, the management of a government-owned television station in the South-South of Nigeria decided to commence morning broadcasts. However, there was no planning. No programme schedule had been worked out, the staff had not been properly briefed, and logistics had not been planned. Management decided to commence the morning broadcast two days later. Programmes were just picked at random from the station's library. The result was that within a few weeks, the station broke down; the station's equipment and facilities could not carry the extra load, and the workload on the staff of the station was too much to bear, among other problems. From one end of the country to the other, the story is the same; most stations' management don't plan, there's no target and every decision is taken on the spur of the moment. This hinders development of broadcast management. 4. Factionalization Among Management: In many government-owned broadcast stations, one hardly finds team spirit among the management. Sometimes this is deliberate; the station manager or General Manager deliberately creates mutual suspicion, bickering and quarrels between departmental heads. In such an environment no one monitors the activities of the Chief Executive of the station who picks sycophants and sometimes goes down, by-passing his departmental heads, to pick from among their sub-ordinates, people to work with. Gossips lead to pettiness and the entire system collapses. This is unhealthy for a broadcast station. 5. Overbearing Attitude: Some station managers of government-owned stations run their stations as their personal estates. They become overbearing and rigid. They do not carry their staff along. They do not consult any departmental head. They just go on to run the station their own selfish way. In one particular instance, the General Manager of a government-owned broadcast station bypassed his departmental heads and was doing their jobs for them; he was scheduling programmes himself, handling marketing and administrative jobs himself, among other jobs. At the end, he muddled up the station's operations and alienated his viewers. The station suffered as a result. Some aggrieved staff resort to sabotage and eventually the station grinds to a halt. Huge sums of money are spent solving problems that do not actually exist. In a particular instance, an overbearing Chief Executive of a broadcast station owned by a state government, came in unannounced one Saturday afternoon and directed that the station, in 227


place of a sponsored programme scheduled for that afternoon, should hook-up with an international satellite station and relay a sports programme. Some staff didn't like the idea as it had not been discussed and the sponsor of the programme scheduled for that time had not been given notice of the change. They went to work and ensured that technical problems deliberately created or contrived, made it impossible for the station to hook up with the international satellite station. After spending over twenty minutes with the technical staff to ensure the problem was solved (he knew nothing about the technical aspects of the station's facilities), the over-bearing Chief Executive gave up and the sponsored programme was aired as scheduled. This is just a tip of the iceberg among several categories of sabotage that could result from overbearing attitude, which alienates staff and results in avoidable problems. 6. Inaccessibility: A broadcast station requires imagination and creativity among its staff. It demands an atmosphere of free interaction and very cordial relationship among staff, for creativity thrives best in an environment where freedom and fraternity exist. And this involves all categories of staff - from the Chief Executive to the last man down the ladder. Indeed, it is a one-big-family affair, where you chide a staff for a job not well done and humour and correct him afterwards. It does not permit obsession with position or hierarchy. Unfortunately, some broadcast managers carry on like some arrogant military commanders. They are not accessible. They want to be feared and in the process they build a wall around them. They are always "busy", too busy to attend to or listen to their staff. So many opportunities that would have helped the station grow are lost through this unwholesome attitude. A broadcast manager should be accessible to his staff and even visitors. All should be assured of audience whenever it is necessary. A proper time management could be designed so as not to spend time on frivolities and unproductive banter. Where time is of the essence, the station manager should get to the bottom line and finish with every staff calling, with dispatch. To be inaccessible is to erect a barricade to creativity. 7. Poor Record Keeping: it is not unusual to find lacking, proper records of transactions in some government-owned broadcast stations. Usually , this is particularly the case where a new Chief Executive is appointed and clients come calling, only to find that records of their transactions with the station are either non-existent or are missing. This has caused not a few strained relationships between some stations and their clients. Proper records of every transaction should be kept for future references. 8. Gate-keeping: In modern broadcasting no station can do without Independent Producers. These are creative minds who complement the in-house output of stations. It is even possible for a station to exist without in-house 228


programmes, therefore dispensing with the burden of hiring and keeping a large number of staff, and having to muster sufficient resources to address inadequate facilities, and voting enormous resources to enhance rapid response solutions to technical problems that may arise in the station. However, some stations are averse to the presence of Independent Producers. Some departmental heads and their staff do everything within their power to frustrate Independent Producers, sometimes out of jealousy and other varieties of pettiness. This attitude is unhealthy and has robbed many stations of great opportunities. Other factors that inhibit the development of broadcast management in Nigeria include fraudulent disposition among some broadcast managers and their subordinate staff, indiscipline, high-handedness in running the broadcast station, favoritism, nepotism, uncaring, unsympathetic attitude of station managers to the problems and limitations of their staff, poor incentives to subordinate staff and very poor and unimaginative administrative strategies employed by some broadcast managers. With the advent of private broadcasting in Nigeria, it is hoped that broadcast management in the country will develop and become a model for broadcast systems in other countries. Happily, private broadcast stations in Nigeria are already making progress in this respect. It is expected that the federal and state governments would advert their minds to the issues raised in this chapter, to enable them position their broadcast stations effectively, to help the stations rise up to the challenges of competition which the liberalization of broadcasting has already begun to engender in the country. As it stands today, any government that neglects its broadcast media will not only lose revenue accruing from its broadcast station, but may be forced to take its messages to private broadcast stations within its jurisdiction, as most people will switch to the private television and radio stations where things are properly done, for information, education and entertainment. Such governments should then be ready to spend so much money on announcements and other publicity in the private stations. That would be the price for neglecting their own public financed stations.

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REFERENCES In writing this Chapter, the book Broadcast Management (Radio and Television), by Ward L. Quaal and James A Brown (Hastings House, New York, 1974) has been of immense help. We are indebted. 1.

Alan C. Filley and Robert J. House, Managerial Process and Organisational Behaviour (Glenview, III: Scott, Foresman & Co, 1969, page 391).

2.

George R. Terry, Principles of Management, 4th Ed. (Homewood III: Richard D. Irwin Inc. 1970, page 56).

3.

Ibid at page 174.

4

Quote from a CNN programme, World Business Today.

5.

Ward L. Quaal and James A Brown, Ibid

6.

Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1954) page 350.

7.

J. Leonard Reinsch and E. I. Ellis, Radio Station Management, 2 Rev. Edition, N. Y., Harper & Row 1960, Pages 249-250.

8.

William McLarney and William M. Berliner, Management Training, th Cases and Principles 5 Ed. (Homewood III Richard E. Irwin Inc, 1970) page 12.

9.

Collin Cherry, World Communication: Threat or Promise?, London: Wiley Inter-Science, 1971, page 105.

10.

Ward L. Quaal and James A. Brown, Ibid, page 82.

11.

Ibid, page 147.

12.

William L. Rivers and Wilbur Schram, Responsibility in Mass Communication, rev. ed. (N.Y: Harper & Row 1969) Chapter 7, pages 190 233.

13.

Frederick c. Whitney, Dubuque, Iowa: Win C. Brown, 1975, page 69.

14.

Robert H. Coddington, Modern Radio Broadcasting: Management and Operation in Small-to-Medium Markets (Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.: Tab Books, 1969, page 286.

nd

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CHAPTER EIGHT

BROADCASTING AND THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA

The entertainment industry in Nigeria has tremendous potentials. If properly developed it would be beneficial to the nation in several respects: it would be a source of relaxation which would in turn lead to higher productivity among the labour force; a source of education and information of the people; a major foreign exchange earner through export of our cultural wealth; generation of employment opportunities etc. Unfortunately, as with most things about us as a nation, the great promise of this industry is untapped. Indeed, as a nation we are like the proverbial man who lives by the riverside and still washes his hands with saliva. And so, in the abundance of water we have, by choice, remained thirsty. Rather than put our acts together, we are always in search of scapegoats, always buck -passing and holding seminars and workshops where brilliant solutions to problems are articulated, only to be thrown into our overflowing trash bin of viable ideas. We have found a scapegoat in the "cultural imperialism" of the West, as a good excuse for the underdevelopment of our entertainment industry. It is stating the obvious to say that Western Culture, which has over the years cultivated self-assertion as a means of achieving universal acceptance, has succeeded a great deal in that respect. The West has achieved that through deliberate positive action. The West knows the immense benefits of developing and exporting their culture. Thus, today we are a captive audience to the magic of Western entertainment which has been, and is being deliberately reinforced in our subconscious, as the ultimate, the best and the ideal. It is an attitude common among people even among contemporary scientists, to forget in their daily speech that it is not the sun that rises and sets, but the universe that gravitates around the sun. In the same way, we have failed to realize that the problem is not the imported entertainment materials nor in our culture but in our attitude, as we have left our entertainment industry underdeveloped. Our entertainment industry will remain underdeveloped unless we do something positive and practical to develop it. Foreign cultures will continue to captivate our people unless we properly package and give expression effectively, to our indigenous culture and values. As a nation, we have persisted in our approach of delaying the fastest runner in a track and field event, who, powered by his will, practice and determination to succeed, beats his competitors with a wide gap. As a people, our approach has always been to slow the fast runner in order for our candidate to catch up and even win the race. The point we are making here is that we cannot project our way of life and sell same to the world without pro-active 231


positive efforts on our part in that direction. It is evidently impossible to say to the Western World "hey, you guys are flooding our country with too much of your stuff. Though we like some elements of your culture, we ask you to please stop or at least reduce your speed so that we can catch up with you and also shine". You don't dam a sea in order to reduce its velocity. We only have to package our cultural wealth in a way that compels universal attention, interest and acceptance. It is our failure to properly package and assert our indigenous culture and to project same first to our people and then to the outside world that has helped to reinforce preference for foreign entertainment among our people. Every epoch in history, at the fullness of time, must eventually give way to another. Some commentators have argued that like the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, the super culture of the world will soon shift and that we shall soon experience a vacuum in universal super-culture. The reason, they say, is that Western culture which has for long occupied that position, may soon reach its menopause. The first sign of the demise of a culture is its decadence. Western culture is increasingly accommodating elements that quicken the process of rigor mortis and decay, says this school of thought. This, the argument goes, is evident in its motif of violence and permissiveness. It has gone full cycle, through the natural stages of development -birth, childhood, adulthood and old age. However, the West is always at war with nature - a consuming passion and determination to conquer nature. This is evident in its long-standing tradition of self-renewal - a resilience to aging and the determination to achieve perpetual relevance and control of the world in practically every aspect. A look at the content of contemporary Western entertainment (music for example) will reveal an effort in self-renewal. For instance, in what is known as "hip-hop" music, an off-shoot of "rap" music, which follows the "pop" tradition, there is a brilliant effort to introduce elements of cultures of diverse origins - Asian, Middle Eastern, African and the Far East. It is a blend of cultures in which Western (American /European) elements are given predominant emphasis while the borrowed elements are only allowed faint supporting presence. Inspite of these attempts, however, it is certain that, as with the succession of one civilization by another, as with the shift in superpower status from one region of the world to another, as history testifies, the current super-culture of the world, born and bred in the West, will soon give way to other parts of the world. The West may succeed in delaying it for a while but it may not be for long, unless it reverses the trend of violence and moral permissiveness in some of its music and movies. The world would have a choice of where to go in its search for change; whether to go Far East, Asia, Africa or elsewhere. In our opinion, Africa has a good chance of producing the next universal super-culture. Black Africa can become the next cultural centre of the world. To succeed, there has to be a deliberate action aimed at developing, packaging and projecting the cultural wealth of the continent. Nigeria can take the lead in this respect. To do this however, Nigeria must develop her entertainment industry. The industry should be nursed to take advantage of the enormous talents and great possibilities wasting 232


away in the country. If this is not done, and urgently too, other African countries mainly South Africa, Central Africa or other parts of West Africa, will take the lead. Notice for instance how Makosa music is gaining universal acceptance, while the various genres of music in Nigeria beg for attention outside the country. Notice also how South Africa is compelling world attention in movies, music, television programming and general cultural output. Consider how that nation has developed an identity for itself in its music. Contrast that with what has become of music in Nigeria. Indeed, it is tempting sometimes to think that the golden age of music in Nigeria is long gone. But looking around, one sees some hope in some of our musicians. Our broadcasters should be creative and help evolve a cultural identity for our country. Cultural consciousness should define our creative endeavour. PRIVATE BROADCASTING AND NBC'S MANDATORY LOCAL CONTENT The National Broadcasting Code makes it mandatory for radio and television stations to implement a minimum of 40% local content in their programming. Cable satellite retransmission stations are also required to implement a minimum of 20% local content in their programming. It is difficult to see how the indegenisation of programming as mandated by the Code can be accomplished in view of the enormous cost of producing local programmes in Nigeria. It is several times cheaper to buy a good foreign programme than to produce a good local programme. The high cost of production of local programmes is the result of a combination of factors, including inadequate communication facilities, obsolete production equipment, cost of foreign exchange, insufficient government and private sector support etc. The private sector, particularly financial institutions, can help this sector and reap huge profits. The stock exchange, capital issues, consortium lending and equipment financing are areas that should be explored. The most important thing however, is to get banks and financial institutions to see the great potentials of the industry. However, the cost of producing local programmes can be reduced and local contents increased through the following: 1. Co-operation in competition: As more private organisations are granted broadcast licenses, competition among them will naturally be heightened. Government-owned broadcasting stations are also going to be involved in the competition that will emerge. However, no station can go it alone, even if every broadcasting station decides (and could afford) to build its own production studio. Infact, every station must not own a production studio. It is not necessary, considering the cost of establishing and maintaining a well - equipped studio. Cooperation is therefore imperative. Stations can come together, pull together required financial resources needed to produce programmes they have individually and collectively adjudged to be good and worthwhile. Stations can also co-operate in other ways such as programmes exchange and syndication. 233


2. Cordial Relationship between Writers and Broadcasting Organisations: Scriptwriters are indispensable in broadcasting. Without script writers, conceived programme ideas or concepts would either be stillborn or have a painful and prolonged journey to final production. Thus, local contents can be increased where broadcasting organisations maintain good relations with scriptwriters. Scriptwriters should be well paid as a way of encouraging them to give the very best of their talents. Broadcasting organisations should also groom scriptwriters. Where they see a budding talent, they should cultivate and encourage it. 3. Cordial Relationship between Independent Producers and Broadcasting Organisations: As earlier noted, it is not necessary for individual broadcasting organisations to own production studios. Independent Producers are reliable experts in production of programmes. Thus, broadcasting organisations should maintain good relations with Independent Producers. They both have a lot to gain from such good relations. In particular, royalties should be standardized, and all parties should be mutually fair and honest to one another. The country will also gain tremendously from such a cordial relationship, as excessive dependence on imported programmes (with all the cultural and foreign exchange implications) will be drastically minimised. GOVERNMENT'S ROLE IN DEVELOPING THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA. Knowing the immense potentials and benefits of a developed entertainment industry to the society in general, government should begin to play a more positive role in developing the industry. Government can help the entertainment industry in the following ways: 1. Lending money to filmmakers: Equipment procurement, content development and distribution channels are the major factors in the entertainment industry. And they require enormous capital and logistics. In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed series of brilliant local film/video productions that are capable of generating considerable interest abroad. This development should be sustained. However, some of these local movies could be better than they are technically, if there were sufficient financial support to fund production. Thus there is need for government to subsidize film production by lending money at moderate rates of interest to film producers. Subsidy in this respect can also be by way of providing technical equipment required, by establishing well-equipped studios, film laboratories and editing centers etc. Users of these equipment would pay for their use. This will help defray the cost of maintaining the equipment and generate profit for such an outfit. We hasten to add here that some of the home video productions in Nigeria 234


today are terribly substandard. Everybody wants to be a producer or an actor or director, without developing the required skills. Some people would just write a story, call some young men and ladies who are excited at the prospect of being seen on screen, hand them scripts and take them to some so-called location (usually hotels) where they stay for two weeks and, pronto, a movie is ready!. This is not how it should be. Professionalism is required. Scripts should be written, criticized, developed and fine-tuned. A good production requires patience and hard work. Script experts, experienced producers and directors should be called in to assist. Casting should be professionally done and all packaging and postproduction should be good so that at the end of the day, the product can be exported and enjoyed outside Nigeria. Sometime ago, some practitioners in the industry initiated the idea of forming associations of actors, actresses, directors, producers and script writers. That is not a solution. Acting is a natural gift. Education may enhance it but restricting participation to only registered members is to engage in selfish gatekeeping. What is required is co-operation and collaboration by practitioners, and self-development. Every producer should reach out to different experts in the industry in packaging any home video, not to go it alone and bear all the burden. In this industry you cannot run a one-man show. The way the home video "industry" is going, it may soon become monotonous and boring and lose the patronage and interest of its audience, unless creativity and professionalism are embraced. 2. Assistance Through Nigerian Embassies Abroad: For Nigeria to achieve any meaningful success in exporting her culture, with all the numerous benefits that would accrue therefrom, we must exploit available channels of exporting and showcasing the very best of local productions/programmes abroad. This should be aimed at generating considerable interest in our cultural outputs abroad. Nigerian embassies all over the world could be very helpful in this respect. Deliberate efforts should be made by our embassies to get foreign broadcasting stations to air Nigerian programmes. For any entertainment material to achieve its purpose, it must pass through the cycle of conception, planning, production, distribution and utilization. Without effective channels of distribution and the final utilization of the material, it cannot be said to have been useful. Thus, apart from helping to generate considerable interest in Nigerian culture abroad, our embassies should also approach foreign organisations involved in marketing and distribution of entertainment materials, to market and distribute them to potential foreign consumers. Thus the interest of the entertainment industry and the nation will be served where distribution channels are structured, organised and expanded within and outside the country. A multi-dimensional distribution approach which includes broadcasting, cinema, home video and the Internet should be adopted. The home video or motion picture industry packages the culture of a people 235


values, places, practices, ideals etc, and sell to the rest of the world. It helps the economy and projects government policies and socio-cultural and other values of the people. We have so much to gain supporting the industry and indeed entertainment generally. The establishment in Nigeria of Satellite radio and Television stations such as the Africa Independent Television, AIT, and Minaj International Television station and Raypower are a welcome development. However, less attention should be given to politics and more efforts dedicated to our local culture. These stations should concentrate on the very best of Nigeria: places, people, way of life, beliefs, history, tourist attractions etc. and these should be properly packaged to attract international interest. The Nigerian Television authority NTA and the Voice of Nigeria, VON, should go on Satellite and efforts should be made to publicize their availability on satellite and world-wide reach. Most importantly, time has come for Nigeria to launch a satellite into space. 3.

ESTABLISHMENT OF FILM CENTRES:

Government should designate at least three film centres across the country. The centres should also be equipped to perform the function for which they are established. In our opinion, the following cities are naturally cut out for such purposes, they are; Jos/Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt and environs and Lagos and environs. These centres could be Nigeria's equivalent of Holywood and other film centres of the world. Egypt is building a Media Production City which is considered the second largest production city in the world after universal studios in the USA. Nigeria should follow this example. 4. PROLIFERATION OF CENEMA: Until early 90's cinemas were a very important aspect of entertainment in Nigeria. However, as more homes procured the videocassette recorder, VCR, and as television sets became available in more homes, cinema gradually lost importance. However, Nigerians, in recent years, are craving the revival of the cinema. The cinema would help to strengthen the financial viability of the motion picture industry in Nigeria. Government and financial institutions should join efforts at establishing cinema houses across the country. Local government councils can lead the way in this respect. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ENTERTAINMENT BANK: Packaging entertainment materials is a costly venture. In Nigeria, financial institutions are not known to be favourably disposed to financing the production of films and other entertainment materials. Yet adequate funding is necessary for the full development of the entertainment industry. Banks and other financial institutions can make huge profits from the entertainment industry annually. But they are not responding. We believe that government can help the situation by establishing an Entertainment Bank of Nigeria. The bank should be managed by individuals with sufficient knowledge of the entertainment industry and experienced bankers. The 236


Board of the bank should comprise the following: -

A representative of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

-

3 representative of the film industry (one from among Producers/Directors, one from among Scriptwriters, one from among Actors/Actresses).

-

A representative of music entertainment production professionals

-

A representative of musicians

-

A representative of private broadcasting stations

-

A representative of state government owned broadcasting stations.

-

A representative of Independent Producers

-

A representative each from the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN

-

A government representative from the Federal Ministry of Information

-

A representative of theatre artists,

! Infact all stakeholders in the entertainment industry should be represented. The bank should have a special department that its duty will be to assess any entertainment project or proposal for financing, with a view to ascertaining the viability of the project, before the bank advances loans to finance it. Conditions, methods and procedures for advancement of loans should be less cumbersome than what is obtainable in traditional banking institutions. However, adequate care must be taken in every case to ensure that such loans will be paid back with moderate interests, as soon as the venture becomes a successful reality. The bank should also maintain good relations and regular contacts with marketers and distributors of entertainment materials. No price is too much for government to pay in developing the entertainment industry. Indeed, government and the society generally are the ultimate beneficiaries of a well-developed entertainment industry in Nigeria. However, the private sector should also contribute its quota. Considerable goodwill could be reaped from being associated with a good entertainment package - film, video, music etc. COPYRIGHT PROTECTION AND THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA Copyright protection is vitally important and indeed imperative for the 237


progressive development of the entertainment and allied industry in any nation. For this reason we shall look at how copyright protection is faring in Nigeria and how to further strengthen it. Copyright can be defined as an economic right granted by law to the copyright owner to enable him control and benefit from the communication of works of his authorship. Section I (1) of the Copyright Decree (No. 47) of 1988 provides that the following works are eligible for copyright, namely, (a) literary works; (b) musical works; (c) artistic works; (d) cinematographic films: (e) sound recordings and (f) broadcasts. The rationale for copyright protection is that by creating a system of rewards for creators of intellectual and artistic work, it would encourage further creativity and promote development in the economic, political, scientific, social and cultural fields. Copyright infringement can occur in several ways, among which are (1) when any person, without license or authorisation does, or causes to be done an act the doing of which is controlled by the copyright owner, (2) when a copyright material is imported into Nigeria otherwise than for private or domestic use; thus illegal public exhibition, distribution by way of trade, sale, hire etc. of copyrighted work and possession of plates, master tapes, machines, equipment or contrivances used for the purpose of making infringed copies of copyrighted work, are illegal. With respect to broadcasting, airing any copyrighted programme such as films and musical works, on television or radio, without the express permission of the copyright owner constitutes a violation. In Nigeria, millions of Naira are lost daily to piracy, counterfeiting and other forms of copyright infringements. Copyrights infringements create a disincentive for authors and performers, as they are thereby denied rewards for their intellectual and artistic work. Piracy can be defined as the copying and sale of recorded music without duplicating the packaging and without paying any compensation to, and without authorization, from the copyright owner. On the other hand, counterfeiting is the illegal copying and sale of recorded music by unauthorised manufacturers, in the guise of authentic packaging. The illegal business of piracy, counterfeiting and other forms of copyright infringements are sustained by the relative cheapness of the products as the violators bear no costs other than of their illegal reproductions. Piracy and other illegal reproduction and use of copyrighted materials continue to attract the concern and attention of copyright owners and copyright protection agencies in Nigeria. Professor Osita C. Eze locates the problems in our "primitive accumulation" culture. In his own words: "In an environment in which primitive accumulation has become part of 238


our national culture, the objective of our copyright law may remain atrophied unless we fight the general culture of exploitative appropriation of the fruits of other people's labour by societal parasites"1. Elsewhere, professor Eze finds evidence of the primitive accumulation culture in the "propensity of entrepreneurs to circumvent and pervert the legal process". To succeed in fighting "the general culture of exploitative appropriation", every Nigerian should be involved. We must be vigilant, for we cannot rely on the law alone for copyright protection. Copyright infringements have combined with other factors to make intellectual creativity almost entirely unattractive in Nigeria. An effective copyright protection system will go a long way in rekindling and stimulating interest in intellectual ventures which will in turn enhance our economic, industrial, technological, political, cultural and social development. Thus we all have a stake in an effective copyright protection regime in Nigeria.

FILM/MUSICAL WORKS AND THE BROADCAST MEDIA Copyright owners, especially professional entertainers, depend on the financial rewards of their intellectual labour for survival. Such financial rewards accrue from sales of their music, films etc and royalties paid for commercial use of their works including broadcasting such works on radio and television. Without these artistes the broadcast industry would lack entertainment materials. Yet artistes have been short-changed and cheated by broadcast stations, while they also suffer in the hands of predators and parasites who feed on their labour and sweat. Over the years, radio and television stations alike have broadcast musical works and films without paying royalties to the copyright owners. This should stop. The National Broadcasting Commission should make it mandatory for broadcast stations to pay royalties to copyright owners of musical works and films broadcast by such media houses, except where the copyright owners expressly waived their right to royalties, such as where airing such works is, by agreement with the copyright owner, meant to promote the work by stimulating public awareness and interest. Radio stations should be compelled to pay royalties to copyright owners for every music they play on their station. Similarly, television stations should be made to pay royalties to copyright owners of films and other works they broadcast. The use of copyright materials should be well monitored and royalties should be collected and distributed to the copyright owners of such works. The practice whereby video clubs send movies to television stations and the latter air such movies and give media exposure (advertisement) to the movie club in return, is wrong and indeed illegal. Nigeria is signatory to several international conventions on copyright 239


protection. Therefore, broadcasters must respect the rights of copyright owners within and outside Nigeria. All provisions on international copyright laws to which Nigeria is signatory, must be complied with. In particular, cable satellite rebroadcasting stations in Nigeria must seek and acquire the right to re-broadcast international satellite channels before doing so. We suggest that the NBC should (and is better equipped to) hold and distribute all monies accruing to international broadcast stations, to them. Royalties must be agreed and paid promptly to the international satellite stations before re-broadcasting their programmes or as agreed by the parties. The NBC, the Copyright Council of Nigeria and other relevant agencies should design effective ways of monitoring copyright infringements. COPYRIGHT OWNERS AND SELF-HELP METHODS. Under the copyright Decree No. 47 of 1988, law enforcement agencies, including the judiciary, the police and the Customs and Immigration officers, are assigned different roles in copyright protection in Nigeria. However, it must be emphasised that self-help on the part of copyright owners is very important. Vigilance on the part of copyright owners is indeed imperative. They should monitor their works with a view to detecting any breach of any kind, and alert the relevant authorities in the event of any infringements on their copyright. Section 36 of the Copyright Decree appears to affirm self-help method of copyright protection by providing that the Customs department may, on appropriate notice by the copyright owner, in any published literary, artistic or musical work or sound recording, treat such works as prohibited goods which are subject to seizure and may lead to prosecution. The copyright owner could activate the legal processes of redress. Where he is passive, infringements may continue perpetually. The National Broadcasting Commission appears to be the best-positioned and best equipped authority to monitor and protect copyright in broadcast media houses. The NBC has zonal offices spread all over the country to enhance its statutory supervisory activity with respect to broadcasting in Nigeria. We believe that the NBC can strengthen the efficacy of copyright protection law in Nigeria by directing radio and television stations to keep records of all musical works, movies and other programmes aired in their respective stations with the names of the artists concerned and the owners of the copyrighted works they broadcast. NBC's zonal personnel can monitor programmes aired by stations and keep records of every programme transmitted. The NBC can also strengthen the efficacy of copyright protection by making payment of royalties mandatory, and enacting sanctions provisions in the event of default by any station. The PMAN and other associations of professional entertainers can help defray NBC's costs of engaging additional staff for the monitoring activities, by 240


paying a percentage of revenue collected annually in form of royalties, to the NBC. Any other effective method of defraying costs could be explored or designed. Private organisations could also be engaged at a fee to complement NBC's activities in this respect. SERVICES AND INDUSTRIES THAT WILL EMERGE WITH THE DEREGULATION AND PRIVATISATION OF THE BROADCAST MEDIA Deregulation and privatisation of the broadcast media has already become an operational reality in Nigeria. It is hoped that government will grant more broadcast licenses to private organisations, in the spirit of free enterprise and fair competition. That competition strengthens quality is a fact long settled. Moreover, employment opportunities will be created through a de-regulated media. Local productions and programming which would result from liberalization translate to another victory in the decolonization of the Nigerian mind and psyche. A liberalised media also strengthens democracy. Indeed, the benefits are multifarious. Though we acknowledge that government has the right and responsibility of regulating the media to forestall the consequences of abuse by operators, which could be grave to society, so long as such government regulatory activities do not constitute serious encumbrances such as would undermine the benefits which the democratization of the media is meant to bring with it. Certain services and industries will spring up around the privatised broadcast media. Some of them include: -

Organisations specialising in broadcast equipment manufacturing, supplies and servicing: Educational organisations involved in the training of broadcast professionals and personnel. More professional entertainers and organisations that package and produce broadcasting and entertainment materials - local home video, film and music productions, will increase. Organisations involved in programmes acquisition and sales will emerge;

Media rating organisations who will be involved in collecting and collating important information and data relevant to the broadcast industry for distribution at a fee will also emerge. Such useful information as set-counts within given areas, and audience and programme preferences among different stations in different locations etc. will be readily available. -

Media monitors who will play "midwife" roles among advertisers, media organisations and advertising agencies, to give credibility to advertising and placements of advertising messages in the media, will also emerge.

-

Video/audio production and post-production studios will spring up across the country. 241


Specialization in other areas that will project our indigenous culture: The development of our entertainment industry will provide young Nigerians the opportunity to specialize in very lucrative areas such as high-tech graphics and animation. It is sad that Nigeria is yet to explore better ways of packaging her rich culture, especially our folklore, into entertainment materials that will compel world attention, interest and patronage. For instance, why can we not make our folklore into cartoons that will stimulate interest around the world? When we watch such cartoons as Tom and Jerry (the cat and mouse cartoon) we enjoy it. Why can't we do better with the numerous morally-educative folklore on the adventures, tricks and nemesis of our good old tortoise and other remarkable characters of the Animal Kingdom of our folklore. This is one of the many areas that a developed entertainment industry in Nigeria will stimulate their growth and enhance the skills of our people in producing and packaging. Other services and industries will also grow around the broadcast media. Thus the broadcast media and other branches of the entertainment industry collectively, should be nurtured and encouraged in the collective interest of Nigeria.

REFERENCE 1.

Osita C. Eze, Copyright Protection in Nigeria: Prospects For National Development, The Lawyers' Journal, Vol. 1, Number 2, 1990, page 41.

242


APPENDICES

243


We commenced writing this book in 1993. We based our analysis and references to the National Broadcasting Commission Code in this book on the National Broadcasting Code first published in 1993. The Code was later reviewed. It is the revised 1996 (second) edition that we have published here in the appendix. Though the 1993 and 1996 editions are fundamentally the same, important additions were made in the 1996 edition to reflect the dynamic nature of the broadcasting industry and the requirements which the grant of additional private broadcast licenses necessitated, as well as the enormous challenges which the NBC has to face daily in its monitoring activities. We apologize that we did not include the 1993 edition of the Broadcasting Code on which our references, analysis and citations are based. In our revised edition of this book in future we shall endevour to use current NBC Code and other legislations.

244


CONTENTS i.

National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992

ii.

National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree No. 55 of 1999

iii.

Relevant Excerpts from the National Broadcasting Code, Second Edition, 1996.

iv.

Relevant Excerpts from the NTA Act 1977

v.

Relevant Excerpts from the FRCN Act 1978

vi.

Relevant Excerpts from the Nigerian Copyright Act, 1988

vii.

Relevant Excerpts from the APCON Code of Advertising Practice

viii.

Relevant Excerpts from the National Film and Video Censors Board Decree No. 85 of 1993.

245


APPENDIX I NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION DECREE NO. 38 OF 1992 (24TH August 1992)

Commencement

THE FEDERAL MILITARY GOVERNMENT Hereby Decrees as follows:Establishment of the National Establishment, etc. of the National Broadcasting Commission Broadcasting Commission

1. Powers of the Commission

There is hereby established a Commission to be known as National Broadcasting Commission (in this Decree referred to as "the Commission") which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

2. - (1) The Commission shall have responsibility of: (a) (b) (c)

(d) (e) (f) (g) (h)

advising the Federal Military Government generally on the implementation of the National Mass Communication Policy with particular reference to broadcasting; 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; recommending applications through the Minister to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for the grant of radio and television license s; regulating and controlling the broadcast industry; undertaking research and development in the broadcasting industry; receiving, considering and investigating complaints from individuals and bodies corporate regarding the contents of a broadcast and the conduct of a broadcasting station; upholding the principles of equity and fairness in broadcasting; establishing and disseminating national broadcasting code and setting standards with regard to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast; 246


(i)

Promoting Nigerian indigenous cultures, moral and community life through broadcasting;

(j)

promoting authenticated radio and television audience measurements and penetration. Initiating and harmonising Government policies on trans-border direct transmission and reception in Nigeria; Regulating ethical standards and technical excellence in public private and commercial broadcasting; Monitoring broadcasting for harmful emission, interference and illegal broadcasting, Determining and applying sanctions including revocation of license s of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest; Approving the transmitter power, the location of stations, areas of coverage as well as regulate types of broadcast equipment to be used; and 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. No person shall operate or use any apparatus or premises for the transmission of sound or vision by cable, television, radio, satellite or any other medium of broadcast from anywhere in Nigeria except under and in accordance with the provisions of this Decree.

(k) (l) (m) (n) (o) (p) (2) Composition of the Commission.

3 (1) The Commission shall consist of: (a)

a Chairman;

(b)

nine other members as may be appointed to represent the following interests, that is -

(i.) (ii.) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)

law, business, performing arts, education, social science, public affairs, and (c) the Director-General of Commission. (2) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall be persons of proven integrity, experience and specialized knowledge in the broadcasting industry or who by reason of their professional or business attainment are in the opinion of the Minister capable of making useful contribution to the work of the Commission. (3)Tenure of office The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall be appointed etc

247


(5)

(2) (3)

(4)

by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the recommendation of the Minister (4) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall be part-time members. The supplementary provision contained in the First Schedule to this Decree shall have effect with respect to the proceedings of the Commission and the other matters contained therein. 4. (1) The Chairman and other members of the Commission shall hold office for three years renewable for one further period of three years only. The Chairman or a member of the Commission may resign his appointment at any time by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. If a member of the Commission dies or resigns or otherwise vacates his office before the expiry of the term for which he is appointed, a fit and proper person shall be appointed for the remainder of the term of office of the predecessor, so however that the successor shall represent the same interest and shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. A member of the Commission may be removed from office by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, if he is satisfied that it is not in the interest of the Commission or the interest of the public that the member should continue in office. Staff of the Commission

5. (1)There shall be appointed for the Commission, a DirectorGeneral who shall be the chief executive of the Commission. (2) He shall be appointed by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on the recommendation of the Minister. (3) The Director General shall be a person with wide knowledge and experience in broadcasting. (4) The Director General shall be responsible for the execution of the policies of the Commission and its day to- day administration. (5) The Director General shall hold office in the first instance for a period of five years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for such further periods as the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces may, from time to time, determine. Power of the Minister to give directives.

(6)

Conditions of service

Subject to this section, the Director-General shall hold office on such terms as to emolument and otherwise as may be specified in his letter of appointment and as may from time to time, be approved by the President, 248


(7)

(8) 6.

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Commission shall appoint a Secretary to the Commission who shall keep records, conduct correspondence of the Commission and carry out and perform such other duties as the Commission or the Director-General may, from time to time, direct. The Commission may appoint such other employees to assist the Director-General in the exercise of his functions under this Decree. Subject to the provisions of this Decree, the Minister may give the Commission directives of a general character relating generally to particular matters with regard to the exercise by the Commission of its functions under this Decree and it shall be the duty of the Commission to comply with such directives.

7. The Commission shall develop and submit to the President, Commanderin-Chief of the Armed Forces appropriate conditions of service concerning remunerations, fringe benefits, pension scheme and other benefits for its employees.

Service in the Commission to be pensionable Cap. 346 LFN

8.- (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Pensions Act, service in the Commission shall be approved for the purposes of that Act and accordingly, officers and other persons employed in the Commission shall in respect of their services in the Commission be entitled to pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits as are enjoyed by persons holding equivalent grades in the civil service of the Federation, so however that nothing in this Decree shall prevent the appointment of a person to any office on terms which preclude the grant of pension and gratuity in respect of that office.

(2)

For the purposes of the application of the provisions of the Pensions Act, any power exercisable thereunder by a Minister or other authority of the Government of the Federation, other than the power to make regulations under section 23 thereof, is hereby vested in and shall be exercisable by the Commission and not by any other person or authority. Power of the commission to grant licenses Cap 59 LFN

9. (1) The Commission shall, in the consideration of an application for a license under this Decree, be satisfied that the applicant(a) is a body corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and whose majority shares are owned by citizens of Nigeria.

249


(b) Can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that he is not Cap. 442 LFN applying on behalf of any foreign interest; (c) Can comply with the provisions of the Second Schedule to the Transition to Civil Rule (Political Parties Registration and Activities) Act; (d) Can comply with the objectives of the National Mass Communication Policy as is applicable to the electronic media, that is, radio and television; (e) Can give an undertaking that the licensed station shall be used to promote national interest, unity and cohesion and that it shall not be used to offend the religious sensibilities or promote ethnicity, sectionalism, hatred and disaffection among the peoples of Nigeria. (2) The grant of a license by the Commission under this Decree shall be subject to availability of broadcast frequencies. (f) Compliance with the requirements specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not entitle an applicant to the grant of a license , but the grant of a license by the Commission shall not be unreasonably withheld. (g) In determining the grant of a license the Commission shall consider the following, that is (a) The structure of share holding in the broadcasting organization; (b) The number of shareholdings in other media establishments; (c) The distribution of those stations and establishments; as between urban, rural, commercial or other categorization. (5) It shall be illegal for any person to have controlling shares Persons in more than two television stations. disqualified from the grant of a license.

Method of application for a licence

Terms and conditions for a licence.

Power of the Commission with respect to licence

(10) (a)

The Commission shall not grant a license to a religious organization; or (b) a political party.

(11) A request by a person for authority to own, establish or operate a radio, sound, television, cable or satellite station shall be by way of an application for a license addressed to the DirectorGeneral of the Commission and in the form prescribed in the Second Schedule to this Decree. (12) The grant of license shall be subject to the terms and conditions set out in the Third Schedule of this Decree. 13. (1) The Commission shall have power with respect to any 250


license granted under section 9 of this Decree (a) to allocate broadcast frequencies generally (FM/MW for radio and VHF for television) to a licensed station; (b) to approve the location of a station; (c) to regulate the technical specifications of equipment and standard of transmission; (d) to impose sanctions in accordance with paragraph 8 of the Third Schedule to this Decree; and (e) to prescribe an appropriate fee payable. (2) The Commission shall have the power to enter into the premises of any station and inspect or examine any apparatus of operation in the station in order to ascertain their conformity with the provisions of the Decree. (3)

The Commission may exercise its power under this section of this Decree through its agents.

Fund of the Commission

Financial Provisions 14. (1) The Commission shall establish and maintain a fund from which shall be defrayed all expenditure incurred by the Commission.

(2)

There shall be paid and credited to the fund established pursuant to subsection (1) of this section (a) such percentage of fees and levy to be charged by the Commission on the annual income of licensed broadcasting stations; (b) such money as may, from time to time, be lent or granted to the Commission by the Government of the Federation or of a State. (c) all money raised for the purposes of the Commission by way of gifts, loans, grants-in-aid, testamentary disposition or otherwise; (d) all other assets that may from time to time, accrue to the Commission. (3) The fund shall be managed in accordance with rules made by the Commission and without prejudice to the generality of the power to make rules under this subsection, the rules shall in particular contain provisions (a) specifying the manner in which the assets or the fund of the Commission are to be held and regulating the making of payments into and out of the fund; and (b) requiring the keeping of proper accounts and records for the purpose Expenditure of of the fund in such forms as may be specified in the rules. the Commission 15. (1) The Commission may, from time to time apply the proceeds of the fund established pursuant to section 14 of this Decree to 251


(b) Power to accept gifts

Borrowing Power

Annual estimates, accounts and audit.

(a) the cost of administration of the Commission. The payments of salaries, fees and other remuneration, allowances, pensions and gratuities payable to members or employees of the Commission. 16. (1) The Commission may accept gifts of money or other property and upon such terms and conditions, if any, as may be specified by the person or organization making the gifts, provided that such gifts are not inconsistent with the objectives and functions of the Commission under this Decree. 17. (1) The Commission may with the consent of the Minister borrow, on such terms and conditions as the Commission may determine, such sums of money as the Commission may require in the exercise of the functions conferred on it under this Decree. 18. (1) The Commission shall not later than 31st October in each year, submit to the National Council of Ministers an estimate of its expenditure and income during the next succeeding financial year.

(2) The Commission shall cause to be kept proper accounts of the Commission in respect of each year and proper records in relation thereto and shall cause its accounts to be audited not less than 6 months after the end of each year by auditors appointed from the list and in accordance with the guidelines supplied by the Auditor-General of the Federation. Annual Reports

Miscellaneous and Supplementary

19. (1) The Commission shall prepare and submit to the Minister not later than 30th June in each year, a report in such form as he may direct on the activities of the Commission during the immediately preceeding year, and shall include in such report a copy of the audited Regulations accounts of the Commission for that year and Auditor General's report thereon. 20.- (1) The Commission may, with the approval of the Minister, make regulations generally for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Decree. Savings 21. Pursuant to the provisions of section 9 of this Decree, the power hitherto exercised by the Minister in so far as they relate to the grant of license s in respect of cable television services shall be deemed to Repeal of certain have been performed by the Commission established by this Decree. sections of certain 22. (1) Section 7 (1) of the Nigerian Television Authority Act and enchantments Cap 329 section 6 (I) of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Act are LFN Cap 140 hereby consequentially repealed. LFN Cap. 469 (2) The power under the wireless telegraphy act regulations made LFN thereunder in so far as they relate to broadcasting shall, as from the 252


commencement of the Decree, vest in the Commission without further assurance than by this Decree.

Interpretation

23. In this Decree, unless the context otherwise requires

Citation

"Chairman" means the chairman of the Commission; "Commission" means the National Broadcasting Commission established by section 1 of this Decree; "Member" means a member of the Commission and includes the Chairman; "Minister" means the Minister charged with responsibility for information and "Ministry" shall be construed accordingly; "Secretary" means the Secretary to the Commission; "Station" means a place or organization established for the purpose of distribution of radio or television programmes to the public through wireless or cable means. 24. This Decree may be cited as the National Broadcasting Commission Decree 1992. SCHEDULES FIRST SCHEDULE Section 3 (5) SUPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE COMMISSION Proceedings of the Commission

1.

The Commission shall meet for conduct of its business at such times as the Chairman may determine.

2.

The Commission shall have power to regulate its proceedings and may make standing orders for that purpose and subject to any such standing orders and to paragraph 3 of this Schedule, may function notwithstanding: (a) any vacancy in its membership or the absence of any member, (b) any defect in the appointment of a member; or (c) that a person not entitled to do so took part in its proceedings. 3.

The quorum at any meeting of the Commission shall be a simple majority of the members. 253


4.

Where standing orders made under paragraph 2 of this schedule provide for the Commission to co-opt persons who are not members of the Commission, such persons may attend meetings of the Commission and advise it on any matter referred to them by the Commission but shall not count towards a quorum and shall not be entitled to vote at any meeting of the Commission.

Committees 5. The Commission may appoint one or more committees to advise it on the exercise and performance of its functions under this Decree and shall have power to regulate the proceedings of its committees. Miscellaneous 6. (1) Any contract or instrument which if entered into or executed by a person not being a body corporate would not be required to be made under seal may be entered into or executed on behalf of the Commission by any person generally or specifically authorized in that behalf by the Commission. (2) Any member of the Commission or of a committee or of a committee thereof, who has a personal interest in any contract or arrangement entered into or proposed to be considered by the Commission or Committee, as the case may be, shall not vote on any question relating to such contract or arrangement. 7. (1) The Common seal of the Commission shall not be used or affixed to any document except in pursuance of a resolution duly passed at a properly constituted meeting of the Commission and recorded in the minutes of the meeting. (2) The fixing of the seal of the Commission shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman or some other members authorized generally or specifically by the Commission to act for the purpose. (3) any document purporting to be a document duly executed under the seal of the Commission shall be received in evidence and shall, unless the contrary is proved, be deemed to be so executed. SECOND SCHEDULE Section II FORM FOR APPLICATION FOR A GRANT OF LICENSE 1. Name of applicant ……………………………………………………. 2. Address:…………………………………………..…………………... 3. Names and nationalities of Directors…………………………………. 4. Names and nationalities of Shareholders and share holding……….. 254


5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

Equity structure……………………………………………..……….. Type of Broadcast License required (Radio/TV, Cable TV, etc) ……………………………………………………………………... Purpose of License ………………….………………………………. Duration for which license is required………………………………. Location ………………….…….……………………………………. Coverage area ……………………..………….…………………….. Target audience/programme profile……….…………………………

12.

Applicant's interest in any other media organization ……………………………………………………………

13.

Type and make of transmitters ………………….……..

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

Effective radiating power……………………………….…………... Type of antenna and its characteristics….……………………………. Distance between studio and transmitter station……………………. Type of link system to be used…………..………………………….. Method of reception (scrambled or open broadcast)……………….. Type, range and standard of programmes………………...…………

20. 21. 22. 23.

Proportion of Nigerian content to the foreign content…………….. Proposal for increase of local content over licensed period Any special effort to promote indigenous talents…………………….. Evidence of financial and technical capabilities of applicant UNDERTAKING

24.

I/We hereby give an undertaking that upon a grant of a license I/we shall abide by the terms and conditions upon which the license is granted. Signed …………………

25. (a)

An application shall be accompanied by the following: Certificate of Incorporation (b) Certified Copy of Articles and Memorandum of Association (c) Project Study including engineering design of system, (d) Evidence of the undertaking required under section 9 (c) of the Decree. THIRD SCHEDULE Section 12 TERMS OF A LICENSE 255


(e) 1. 2. 3. 4. (a) (b) (c)

A license shall be valid for a period of five years in the first instance. An application for the renewal of a license shall be made to the Commission within a period of six months before the expiration of the license . a license shall not be transferable and the licensed station shall not be changed without notifying the Commission of the intention and the reasons for such change. The holder of a license shall be entitled to operate only one station in respect of a license . A license shall:contain a schedule of proposed programmes over a given period of time e.g. quarterly, a local programme content which shall not be less than 40%, and a schedule shall be accompanied by a synopsis of each of the programme plans.

5. Each station shall keep a daily log of its transmitted programmes and the station log book shall include a transmitter output power and radiating frequencies. 6. Each station shall make available for inspection by the inspectorate staff of the Commission its broadcast facilities including equipment and station log books. 7. A license may be revoked by the Commission in the following cases, that is:(a) where the prescribed fee has not been paid on the due date; (b) where the license has not been put to use within a period of one year after issuance; (c) where it is found that the license was obtained in breach of the provisions of section 13 of this Decree or where it is found that the provisions of the said section are not being complied with; and (d) where in the opinion of the Commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest or where a complaint from the public has been upheld after a hearing instituted by the Commission and whose decision is upheld by a majority of members of the Commission. 9. The Commission may impose a lesser sanction such as a warning or the suspension of a license as it may deem fit. MADE at Abuja this 24th day of August 1992. GENERAL I. B. BABANGIDA, President, Commander-in-Chief 256


of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria. Explanatory Note [The note does not form part of the above Decree but is intended to explain its purpose] The Decree establishes the National Broadcasting Commission to, among other things, receive, process and consider application for the ownership of radio and television stations including cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and other medium of broadcasting. APPENDIX II NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) DECREE 1999 Decree No. 55 [26th May 1999] commencement Amendment of

decreeFEDERAL No. 38 of THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT hereby decrees as follows:1992

Amendment of section 2.

(a)

1. The National Broadcasting Commission Decree 1992 (in this Decree referred to as "the principal Decree") is amended as set out in this Decree.

(2) Section 2 of the principal Decree is amended in subsection (1) by substituting for paragraph (b) the following new paragraph (b)

"(b)

receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations, including

(i)

cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.

(ii)

radio and television stations owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or Local Government;";

(b)

in paragraph (d), by substituting for the word "broadcast", the word "broadcasting"; (c) by inserting after paragraph (o); the following new paragraph (p) to (t) "(p) ensuring qualitative manpower development in the broadcasting 257


industry by accrediting curricula and programmes for all tertiary training institutions that offer Mass Communication in relation to broadcasting; (q) intervening and arbitrating in conflicts in the broadcast industry; (r) ensuring strict adherence to the national laws, rules and regulations relating to the participation of foreign capital in relation to local capital in broadcasting; (s) serving as national consultants on any legislative or regulatory issues on the broadcasting industry; (t) guaranteeing and ensuring the liberty and protection of the broadcasting industry with due respect to the law."; and Amendment of section 3. renumbering the existing paragraph (p) as paragraph (u). 3. Section 3 of the principal Decree is amended (a)

by substituting for the existing subsection (I) the following new subsection (I) "(I) The Commission shall consist of (a) a Chairman; (b) ten other members as may be approved to represent the following interests, that is (i) law, (ii) business, (iii) culture, (iv) education, (v) social science, (vi) broadcasting, (vii) public affairs, (viii) engineering, (ix) State Security Services, (v) the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture; and (c) the Director-General of the Commission."; (b) in subsection (2) by substituting for the words "in the opinion of the Minister" between the words "are" and "capable", the words "on the recommendation of the Minister and the approval of the President"; and Amendment of section 9. (c) in subsection (3), by inserting before the word "appointed" the words "citizens of Nigeria who shall be" 4. Section 9 of the principal Decree is amended (a) in subsection (I) by (i) substituting for the existing paragraph (a) the following new paragraph (a) "(a) is a body corporate registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree 1990 or a station owned, established or operated by the Federal, State or Local Government;". 258


(ii) (iii)

deleting paragraph (c), and renumbering paragraphs (d) and (c) as (c) and (d) respectively;

(b) by substituting for the existing subsection (5) the following new subsection (5) "(5) it shall be illegal for any person to have controlling shares in more than two of each of the broadcast sectors of transmission."; and (c) by inserting immediately after subsection (5), the following new subsection (6) "(6) any broadcast station transmitting from Nigeria before the commencement of this Decree shall be deemed to have been licensed under this Decree and, accordingly, shall be subject to the provisions of Amendment of section 13. this Decree.". 5. Section 13 of the principal Decree is amended in subsection (1) by substituting for paragraph (a) the following new paragraph (a) "(a) to allocate to a licensed station, that is in the case of a radio station, Frequency Modulation, Medium Wave and Short Wave, (i) in the case of television, Very High Frequency and Ultra High Frequency, and (ii) such other broadcast frequencies as the Commission may from time to Amendment of section 14. time determine.". 6. Section 14 of the principal Decree is amended (a)

in subsection (2) by inserting the following new paragraph (a) "(a) such percentage of fees and levy to be charged by the Commission on the annual income of licensed broadcasting stations owned, established or operated by private individual(s), Federal, State or Local Government."

"(4)

(b) by inserting immediately after subsection (3) the following new subsection (4)No person shall offer for sale, sell or have in his possession with a view to selling in the course of his business, any installation, mechanism, instrument, material or other apparatus a. constructed for the purpose of; or b. intended to be used for. Wireless telegraphy except under and in accordance with a license Insertion of by the Commission in that behalf." issued new section 14A

259


7. Immediately after section 14 of the principal Decree there is inserted the following new section 14

Radio and television license fees.

14A. The Commission shalla. collect and hold in trust for; b. disburse on behalf of,

Insertion of new sections 19A and 19B

Liability to code of sanctions.

Indemnity. Etc, of the Commission on and staff.

the broadcast houses such license fees accruing from the ownership of radio and television sets, as the Commission may prescribe". 8. Immediately after section 19 of the principal Decree, there is inserted the following new sections 19A and 19B 19A. Any station which contravenes the provisions of the National Broadcasting Code or any other order of the Commission shall be liable to the sanction prescribed in the Code.

19B.-(1) Every member of staff or other officer of the Commission shall be entitled to be indemnified by the Commission against losses or liabilities sustained or incurred in or about the execution of the duties attached to his office or otherwise in relation thereto, and no member, staff or other officer of the Commission shall be liable for any loss, damage or misfortune which may happen to or be incurred by the Commission in the execution of the duties of his office or in relation thereto unless the same happened through his willful neglect or default. (2) The Commission shall not be liable or responsible for any infringement by a licensee in the exercise of his license , of a copyright in any work of any law arising out of the exercise of the license , and nothing in this Decree shall affect the liability of the licensee in respect of any such act Amendment of First Schedule done by him". 9. The First Schedule to the principal Decree is amended by (a) inserting immediately after paragraph 1 the following new paragraph 1A "1A. The principal office of the Commission shall be in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where its general sessions shall be held."; (b) inserting immediately after paragraph 5 the following new paragraphs 5A, 5B and 5C-

260


"5A. The Commission shall conduct its proceedings in such a manner as shall be best conductive to the proper dispatch of its business and the ends of justice. 5B. Each vote and official act of the Commission shall be entered on record and its proceedings shall be made public upon request by any party interested 5c. The Commission may withhold publications of Records or Amendment of Third Schedule proceedings containing secret information affecting the national deference and security 10. The Third Schedule to the principal Decree is amended (a) by inserting the following new paragraph 2A and 2B "2A. In considering an application for the renewal of a license the Commission shall review the past conduct of the licensee. 2B. The Commission may not renew a license if , having regard to the past performance of the station, it is not in the national or public interest or the interest of the broadcast industry to do so."; (b) by inserting the following new paragraph 4 "4. A licensee shall be responsible for the contents of the station's broadcast."; (c) in paragraph 5 by substituting for the sub-paragraph (b) the following new sub-paragraph (b) "(b) a local programme content which shall not be less than 60 per cent local and not more than 40 percent foreign for radio and television and not less than 20 per cent local or more than 80 per cent foreign for cable satellite retransmission". (d) by substituting for paragraph 7, the following new paragraph 7 " 7. Each station shall make available for inspection by the inspectorate staff of the Commission, its broadcast facilities including equipment, station transmission log, programmes and transmission recordings which must be kept for at least 3 months before being discarded";. (c) in paragraph 8 by i. substituting in sub-paragraph (b) the words "two years" for he words "one year"; ii. substituting for the full stop at the end of sub-paragraph (d), a semi colon, and the following new sub-paragraphs (e) to (k) "(e) for false statements knowingly made either in the application form or in any statement of fact which may be required pursuant to sections 9 and 25 of this Decree; "(f) where the Commission discovers even after the issuance of license, authentic information or fact that would ordinarily disqualify the 261


"(g) (h)

(i) (j) (k) (f) "8A.

8B.

8C.

Citation

granting of same; where there is willful or repeated failure to operate substantially as set forth in the license; where there is willful or repeated violation, or willful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Decree or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Decree or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria; where there is violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission; where there is willful or repeated failure to allow reasonable access into the premises of any station; and where a provision of the National Broadcasting code has been seriously breached." Immediately after paragraph 8, there is inserted the following new paragraphs 8A, 8B, and 8C The public hearing referred to in paragraph 8 may be held at such places as the Commission shall determine to be appropriate, and in making such determination, the Commission shall consider whether the public interest, convenience or necessity will be served by conducting the hearing at a place in the vicinity of the principal area to be served by the station in question. Pursuant to paragraph 8A, the Commission shall serve upon the licensee or person involved an order to show cause why an order of revocation, suspension or any order should not be issued against him and the order to show cause shall contain a statement of the matter with respect to which the Commission is inquiring and shall call upon the said licensee or person to appear before the Commission at such time and place as may be stated in the order but not less than thirty days after the receipt of such order, to give evidence upon the matter specified therein. If after the hearing, the Commission determines that an order of revocation, suspension, or any other order should be issued, it shall issue such order, which shall include a statement of the findings of the Commission and the grounds and reasons for the findings and specify the effective date of the order, and cause same to be served on the said licensee or person." 11.This Decree may be cited as the National Broadcasting Commission (Amendment) Decree 1999. MADE at Abuja this 26th day of May, 1999. GENERAL ABDULSALAMI ALHAJI ABUBAKAR, Head of State, Commander in-Chief Of the Armed Forces Federal Republic of Nigeria 262


APPENDIX III RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM THE NATIONAL BROADCASTING CODE, SECOND EDITION, 1996 FOREWORD Two years ago, the National Broadcasting Commission, in fulfilment of an aspect of its responsibilities, presented to the broadcasting family "a road map on our collective journey to free and responsible broadcasting" in Nigeria. It was the Broadcasting code a guide for the broadcast industry in Nigeria. Within this period, events have proved the dynamic nature of our society. The broadcasting industry has contributed immensely to these dynamic changes. When the National Broadcasting Code was launched in 1993, there was not a single privately-owned open broadcast house. Today there are seven privatelyowned television and two radio stations. Over twenty satellite redistribution stations are making their impact among various communities across the country. The emergence of these, along with five new state-owned broadcast stations in various parts of the country during the same period, has given a new dimension to broadcasting in Nigeria which was hitherto a government monopoly. New experiences naturally have been acquired from the older establishments such as the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), the Voice of Nigeria (VON), as well as the new ones. These experiences must therefore be reflected in the rules that guide the industry. The compilation of this edition of the National Broadcasting Code is a summation of the experiences which, in the Commission's studied view, will give credence, sanity and protection to the industry and the operators. As this second edition comes on the stage of Nigerian broadcasting, the issues existing at the time of the introduction of the first edition still remain the same, only sharper in focus. They therefore deserve a sharper and more focused direction. Freedom for example is still as exciting as responsibility is challenging. With the emergence of privately - owned broadcast stations, alongside the governmentowned ones, the fundamental principles and philosophy behind deregulation have become clearer. The excitement of freedom has to be placed within its boundary to avoid hurting the freedom of others. The challenges of responsibility have to be sharply focused as this is the mission of the broadcasting profession. The need therefore to tightly weave freedom onto responsibility has partly prompted the presentation of this second edition of the National Broadcasting Code. It would therefore be most useful for all those directly or peripherally engaged in the 263


broadcast industry to pay great attention to both the spirit and the letter of this document which was earlier described as "a general guide to enhance the profession" The NBC remains hopeful that the widespread clamour for greater involvement of the private sector in broadcasting is still valid as a panacea for the perceived concept of public broadcasting. The Code is, therefore, designed to consolidate the positive dimension of the current impetus in the broadcast media in Nigeria. Essentially, it will enable broadcasting play a greater role in ensuring the accountability of government media to the citizens of Nigeria. Promote plurality of opinions across age, sex, socio-economic and geopolitical barriers, and so sustain the country's democratic structures. Encourage the injection of life-giving capital into the industry. Provide a market place for goods, services and ideas. Be an honest vehicle to propel the industry in its role of social engineering towards the realisation of a strong united nation. If these are the objectives of this Code, every professional in this industry should proudly identify with this document, uphold it with all seriousness, proclaim it with unalloyed conviction, and execute it with dedicated commitment and responsibility. The NBC restates its commitment to the encouragement of the entrepreneurs who are braving the expanding frontiers of the dream of free and responsible broadcasting; a dream which the Commission is resolved to make a living reality. A. TOM ADABA (PH.D) DIRECTOR-GENERAL April 23, 1996

264


CONTENTS Chapter One

Citation, Functions Challenges and Objectives

Chapter Two

Programming

Chapter Three Programmes Chapter Four

News and Current Affairs Programmes

Chapter Five

Sports And Outside Broadcast

Chapter Six

Sponsorship

Chapter Seven

Advertisement

Chapter Nine

Reporting Procedure And Sanction CITATION, FUNCTION CHALLENGES AND OBJECTIVES

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.1 1.1.1

Citation and Application Functions of Broadcasting Challenges to Industry The objectives of Broadcasting in Nigeria Laws and Professional Standards Call sign Logging of Transmissions Continuous Recording of Transmissions Inspection of Log Books and Recordings CITATION AND APPLICATION Citation This document shall be known as the National Broadcasting Code, 265


hereafter referred to as "the Code" 1.1.2

Application The Code shall be applied in the spirit as well as in the letter, and shall be taken as the minimum standard to be observed by all operators of radio and television stations as well as satellite cable redistribution services in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

1.2 1.2.1

FUNCTIONS OF BROADCASTING Broadcasting is a very potent mass medium as it combines audio, vision and motion and is capable of reaching a variety of audiences simultaneously. It is also a medium of communication through which the individual shares in the world around and beyond his immediate environment. By means of broadcasting, every Nigerian should partake of ideas and experiences that will enrich his life and help him live in a complex, dynamic and humane society. Broadcasting in Nigeria should influence societal values positively, and in so doing, improve and strengthen the social, cultural, economic, political and technological fabrics of the nation. Nigeria broadcasting shall essentially match the best in the profession anywhere in the world, and, yet must be distinctly Nigerian, projecting the best and discouraging the worst in the society. In other words, the major responsibility of broadcasting to inform, educate and entertain, shall not be at the expense of the national interest, unity and cohesion of Nigeria's diverse social, economic political and religious configuration. No broadcast shall encourage, or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, or be offensive to public feeling, or contain an offensive reference to any person, alive or dead or generally, be disrespectful to human dignity.

1.2.2.

Broadcasting in Nigeria On August 24, 1992, the Federal Military Government promulgated the National Broadcasting Commission Decree No. 38 of 1992 (hereinafter referred to as Decree No. 38), deregulating the broadcasting industry and establishing the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to control the entire industry. This ended over 50 years of government sole ownership of broadcasting.

1.2.2

The Commission's Main Functions Unlike other media of mass communication, the airwaves, which radio and television utilize, belong to the public. Thus, radio and television broadcasting everywhere is controlled, in the public interest, by a regulatory agency. The body set up to perform these duties of regulating and controlling broadcasting in Nigeria is the NBC which has the following as its main functions, as contained in section 2 266


(1) of the Decree No. 38: (A) advising the Federal Military Government generally on the implementation of the National Mass Commission Policy with particular reference to broadcasting; (b) 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. (c) Recommending applications through the Minister to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for the grant of radio and television licenses; (d) Regulating and controlling the broadcast industry; (e) Undertaking research and development in the broadcast industry; (f) Receiving, considering and investigating complaints from individuals and bodies corporate regarding the contents of a broadcast and the conduct of a broadcasting station; (g) Upholding the principles of equity and fairness in broadcasting; (h) Establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regard to the contents and quality of materials for broadcasting; (i) Promoting Nigerian indigenous cultures, moral and community life through broadcasting; (j) Promoting authenticated radio and television audience measurements and penetration; (k) Initiating and harmonizing Government polices on transborder direct transmission and reception in Nigeria; (l) Regulating ethical and technical excellence in public, private and commercial broadcast stations in Nigeria; (m) Monitoring broadcasting for harmful emission, interference and illegal broadcasting; (n) Determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licenses of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest; (o) Approving the transmitter power, location of stations, areas of coverage as well as regulate types of broadcast equipment to be used; and, (p) 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. 1.3

(a)

CHALLENGES TO INDUSTRY The Code is designed to ensure "a free and responsible" broadcasting environment in Nigeria. It stipulates the requirements demanded of broadcasting in a truly democratic society. Thus broadcasting must satisfy, amongst others, the following needs of society: a truthful, comprehensive, and intelligent account of each day's national 267


(b) (c)

(d) (e)

and international events that have significant impact on the Nigerian community; an impartial access to the nation's daily intelligence, made equally available to everyone; a forum for the exchange of comment and criticism representing every facet and stratum of the society, as required in a federal state like Nigeria, in which the views and opinions of every area is included in the national consensus; a means of projecting the opinions and attitudes of the groups in society to one another, in response to the imperatives of a federal democracy. The presentation and clarification of the goals and values of the society. The overall objective of this document is to ensure that broadcasting plays its part in the social, cultural, political, economic, technological and other forms of development of Nigeria. 1.4.

THE OBJECTIVES OF BROADCASTING IN NIGERIA In the performance of its functions, the NBC is guided by the following broad objectives which correspond with Nigeria's major national objectives as stated in the Constitution. 1.4.1

(a) (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (b)

(c)

Social Objectives

To provide a functional level of general education for the Nigerian populace, irrespective of their educational background. Specifically, broadcasting is to: promote generally accepted social values and norms especially civic and social responsibilities; promote the acquisition or pursuit of knowledge; disseminate, impartially, news and opinions, in a manner encouraging meaningful and articulate dialogue and discussion of issues of public interest; promote the physical, mental and social will-being of the people; foster the spirit of self-discipline, self-sacrifice and self-reliance; and, encourage respect for the dignity of Man. Broadcasting organizations shall recognise that they exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any special personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of their own, or of their proprietors, relatives, friends or supporters. Broadcasting should promote values and norms which foster the willbeing and co-operation of the various groups of the Nigerian society.

268


1.4.2

(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v)

Cultural Objectives The cultural objectives of broadcasting should cover various aspects of community life, including aesthetics, religion, ethics, philosophy, language, history and the arts. Broadcasting shall, among others: seek, identify, preserve and promote Nigeria's diverse cultures; select, critically, the positive aspects of foreign cultures for the purpose of enriching the Nigerian culture; develop and promote the application of indigenous aesthetic values; promote the development of a high level of intellectual and artistic creativity; and , foster generally acceptable moral, ennobling and spiritual values. 1.4.3

(i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Economic Objectives The economic objectives of broadcasting should be consistent with the nation's economic goals which include the building of: a united, strong and self-reliant nation; a just and egalitarian society; a great and dynamic economy; and a land of bright and full opportunities for all citizens.

Broadcasting should therefore: a. b. c. d.

monitor trends and developments in production processes; promote knowledge of available products and services through programmes and advertisements; foster the spirit of hardwork and productivity to improve the quality of life of the people; and, encourage the production and consumption of local products to achieve self-sufficiency and self-reliance. 1.4.4

Political Objectives Broadcasting shall contribute to the development of national unity and participatory democracy. Therefore, the political objectives of Broadcasting shall be to:

(i) (ii) (iii)

create and promote political awareness amongst the people to achieve a democratic society; inculcate in the people the spirit of tolerance of all shades of opinion; and , promote social justice based on the responsibilities and rights of the individual in society. 1.4.5

Technological Objectives 269


(a) (b)

The nation's abundant natural and human resources shall be exploited to the advantage of the people. Broadcasting shall therefore:

(i) keep the people abreast of technological development; (ii) promote and encourage the study of science and technology; (iii) promote the spirit of self-reliance and engender the development of indigenous technology; and (iv) promote a scientific and rational attitude to life by encouraging research. 1.4.6

(i) (ii) (iii)

Professional Objectives Broadcasting is a specialized section of the media industry, with its own mode of professionalism as set out by this Code. Broadcasting shall, therefore: encourage the development of professionalism, by the recruitment and training of professionals; ensure that only professionals head professional departments and divisions; and , where available, Nigerian talents and facilities shall be used in the production of all programmes, including advertisements. 1.5

1.5.1

(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) (ix) (x) (xi) (xii) (xiii)

LAWS AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS

The broadcasting objectives will be best achieved if all those involved in the production and transmission of programmes acquaint themselves with the following laws and professional standards, among others: the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the NBC Decree No. 38 of 1992; the NTA Decree of 1977 as amended by section 22 (1) of NBC Decree No. 38 of 1992; the FRCN Act of 1978 as amended by section 22 (1) of the NBC Decree No. 38 of 1992; the Wireless Telegraphy Act as amended by section 22 (2) of Decree No. 38 of 1992; laws of libel and sedition; laws relating to matters before law courts or judicial bodies; the Official Secrets Act; the Copyright Decree No 47 of 1988; schedule 2 of Decree No. 27 of 1989; relevant sections of the APCON Code of Practice; relevant sections of the NFVCB Decree No. 85 of 1993; relevant sections of electoral laws & guidelines; 270


(xiv)

international treaties/obligations of Nigeria relating to broadcasting. 1.6 CALL SIGN 1.6.1 Each station's identification or call sign(s) or jingle(s) shall be registered with the Commission 1.6.2 The station identification, and, or call sign shall be broadcast

every 30 minutes or at the next available programme junction. 1.6.3 For television and cable satellite redistribution operations, the station identification logo shall be permanently displayed. 1.7

LOGGING OF TRANSMISSIONS All transmissions (total outputs) of the station shall be logged in accordance with paragraph 6 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38. 1.8

CONTINUOUS RECORDING OF TRANSMISSIONS Pursuant to paragraph 6 and 7 of the Third Schedule of Decree No38, all broadcasts shall be recorded off transmission, and the recordings retained by the station for at least 3 months. 1.9

INSPECTION OF LOG BOOKS AND RECORDINGS All log books and corresponding recordings shall be made available to the Commission on demand, in accordance with paragraph 7 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38. 2. PROGRAMMING 2 General Requirements 2.1 Preamble 2.2 D e f i n i t i o n s 2.3 P r o g r a m m i n g G u i d e l i n e s 2 2.1.

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS PREAMBLE In furtherance of its responsibility of ensuring that radio and television stations produce and transmit broadcast materials that serve the interest of the nation and its constituent groups, the Commission established these guidelines for Programmes, News and Current Affairs, Sponsorships, Promotions as well as Technical outputs. 2.2. 2.2.1.

DEFINITIONS The Code The regulatory document of the National Broadcasting Commission as may be reviewed from time to time, under the provision of 271


Decree No. 38 of 1992 and any amendment thereto. 2.2.2 Breach Any action, or inaction constituting non-compliance with any provision of the Code on the part of any broadcast operator shall constitute a breach. 2.2.2.1 Each breach of the code shall constitute a separate offence. 2.2.3. Sanction Sanction is a penalty or enforcement measure applied to any breach of the Code 2.2.3 Sanction for any breach of the Code shall be as set out in Sections 9.7, and 9.8 of Chapter Nine detailing the Sanctions and Enforcement Procedure. 2.2.4. Obscenity A graphic presentation of lewd sexual activity, verbal or physical violence or blood letting, portrayed in a socially offensive manner, especially if it is not indispensable in the total communication of an idea. 2.2.5. Pornography A broadcast material calculated to cause sexual excitement. 2.2.6. X- Rated Items Programme items that depict explicit sexual acts or stimulate or encourage sexual activities, or acts of force, excessive and gratuitous violence against humans and animals, or graphically present human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions. 2.3 2.3.1.

PROGRAMMING GUIDELINES Straight Dealing The objectives of Broadcasting in Nigeria are designed to further the goals of democracy and socio-economic development. These objectives challenge the broadcasting industry to assume a major role in the establishment of a democratic culture in Nigeria. One of the ways to do this is that all programmes produced and, or, broadcast in Nigeria, without exception, shall display a transparent concern for fairplay, honesty and integrity. Straight Dealing requires that all the objectives of a programme be clearly evident at every stage of its production. The equality of the interest of the programme itself, the performers, and the audience, shall be made obvious. 2.3.2

Accuracy, Objectivity, and Fairness 272


2.3.2.1 Any information given in any programme, in whatever form, shall be presented accurately. 2.3.2.2. All sides to any issue of public interest shall be adequately presented to ensure fairness. A broadcaster must acknowledge his or her own inherent biases and prejudices, and transparently rise above subjective mindsets. 2.3.2.3. The Right of Reply shall be guaranteed to any person(s) or body with a genuine claim to misrepresentation. 2.3.2.4. Self-correction: It is professionally mandatory to forthrightly admit a mistake once clearly established, and fully effect remedy as agreed with the aggrieved body. 2.3.3

Integrity The inclusion of elements within any programme, dictated by factors other than professional requirements, is forbidden. In particular, quiz and similar programmes that are presented as contests of knowledge, information, skill or luck, must be genuine and the results must not be controlled by collusion with, or amongst, contestants, or any other actions which will favour one contestant against any other. 2.3.4 Authenticity 2.3.4.1 Fictional events or non-factual materials shall not be presented as real.

2.3.4.2 Presentations that are deceptive or misleading are forbidden. 2.3.4.3 Archival or library materials shall be clearly identified. 2.3.5 Good Taste and Decency 2.3.5.1 Obscene, pornographic or vulgar language, expressions, presentations and representations are forbidden. 2.3.5.2 The sanctity of marriage and family life shall be promoted and strictly upheld. 2.3.5.3 Physical and mental disability shall not be exploited, or presented in a manner embarrassing to the disabled or members of their family. 2.3.5.4 The use of lewd or profane expressions, except in a specially relevant situation, shall be avoided. 2.3.6 Morality and Social Values 2.3.6.1 Cruelty, greed, selfishness, and revenge shall not be portrayed as desirable human values. 2.3.6.2 Drunkenness, drug addiction, and robbery shall not be presented, except as destructive habits to be avoided or denounced. 2.3.6.3 X-related crimes such as adultery, prostitution, rape, bestiality, 273


homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, etc, shall not be presented, except as destructive practices to be avoided or denounced. Liquor consumption and smoking shall be shown only when consistent with plot and character development. Suicide shall not be treated as an acceptable solution to human problems.

2.3.6.4 2.3.6.5

2.3.6.6 The portrayal of nudity and sexual scenes and expressions is justifiable only in context; however, it shall be presented with tact and discretion. 2.3.6.7 Ostentatious life-style shall not be extolled. 2.3.7 Women Womanhood shall be presented with respect and dignity. 2.3.8 Crime, Law and Order 2.3.8.1 Language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or to lead to disorder is forbidden 2.3.8.2 Criminal tendencies shall be presented as undesirable. 2.3.8.3 The treatment of the commission of crime in a frivolous manner, or in a manner seeming to condone it, is forbidden 2.3.8.4 The presentation of techniques of crime, in such detail as to invite imitation, is forbidden. 2.3.8.5 Law enforcement shall be upheld at all times in a manner depicting that law and order is socially superior to, or more desirable than, crime. 2.3.9

Violence, Cruelty and Horror the portrayal of violence for its own sake shall be avoided 2.3.9.2 violence shall not be portrayed as a desirable trait or preferred means to an end 2.3.9.3 excessive or detailed portrayal of physical suffering and pain, or of dead bodies or blood, shall be avoided.

2.3.9.1

2.3.10 Exclusivity of Programme Sourcing Programme exclusivity shall be discouraged, but where exclusive rights have been acquired, such programmes shall be readily made available to other operators in mutually negotiated terms. The National Broadcasting Commission shall arbitrate when there is a fundamental disagreement in negotiation. 2.3.11 Negotiation of Foreign Charges The National Broadcasting Commission shall regulate charges for foreign programme where it is established that owners are charging either differentially, or unreasonably, compared with what obtains in other comparable parts of the world, or where one or a number of interested 274


stations are being deliberately denied a right to participate. A similar regulatory process shall be applied in the case of local programmes. 3. 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5

PROGRAMMES P r e

Definitions Children's Programmes Religious Programmes E d u c a t i o n a l

&

a

m

C u l t u r a l

b

l

e

P r o g r a m m e s

3.1

PREAMBLE All programmes including News and Current Affairs shall adhere to the general guidelines of legality, decency and truthfulness, as well as general guidelines enumerated in Chapter Two. 3.2 3.2.1

DEFINITIONS Programme A unified presentation on radio, television or cable retransmission that occupies a distinct period with a beginning and an end. 3.2.2. Sponsorship Payment in part or full of the cost of a production or transmission or both, by any person or organisation to promote his or its public image, activities, or any cause or public service. 3.2.3 Promotion Any item of advert, publicity or sales promotion inserted in programme and news broadcasts by any station.

3.3 CHILDREN'S PROGRAMMES 3.3.1 Materials likely to adversely affect the sensitivities and sensibilities of children shall be avoided. 3.3.2 Any programme which violates social values, shows disrespect for law and order, or departs from an honourable life-style, is forbidden. 3.3.3 X-rated programmes shall not be broadcast; most especially when children are likely to be watching or listening. Programme belts shall be strictly respected. 3.3.4 Swearing or blasphemous language of any kind shall be avoided. 3.3.5 The depiction of conflict shall be handled with sensitivity and maturity. 275


3.3.6 Children shall be protected from racial or other inferiority complex resulting from careless or deliberate comparisons or information. 3.3.7 Violence and crime shall not be glamorized, or go unpunished in children's programmes. 3.3.8 Foreign folklores and values shall be presented with care, to avoid undue influence on children at an impressionable age. 3.3.9 Nigerian folklores and values shall be promoted. 3.3.10 Programmes in foreign languages shall not be transmitted without subtitles in the official language, except sports where the audio is only complementary, or religious programmes where the foreign language is easily understood by the adherents. 3.3.11 Re-transmission of local programmes in vernacular shall have subtitles in the official language to allow a general audience appeal. 3.4 RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMES Equitable air time shall be provided to the various religions in the community, regardless of size. 3.4.2 Religious programmes shall be presented respectfully and accurately. 3.4.3 Appropriate opportunity for religious presentations shall be made available to the various religions in the community.

3.4.1

3.4.4

Religious broadcasts, that is, religious programmes over whose content members of a specific religion exercise control, shall be presented by responsible representatives of the given religion or sect. 3.4.5 Religious broadcasts shall not contain any attack on, or ridicule of, any other religion or sect. 3.4.6 Religious broadcasts promoting unverifiable claims are prohibited. 3.4.7 Religious rites or rituals involving cruelty and obscenity, shall be avoided except in programmes designed specifically to teach the beliefs or faith of a religion. 3.4.8 Not withstanding the above, religious broadcasts shall not exceed 10% of the total weekly airtime of any station. 3.5.1

3.5 EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL PROGRAMMES Instructional programmes shall be presented with accuracy and decency. 3.5.2 Treatment of subjects shall avoid sensationalism or appeal to the 276


prurient interest or morbid curiosity of the audience. 3.5.3 Programmes presenting genuine artistic or literary material shall avoid sensationalism or exploitation of artists.

4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.1.1

NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMMES 4.1 Preamble Definitions News and current affairs programmes Political coverage Live coverage News interviews Discussion programmes 4.1 PREAMBLE Broadcast stations have a duty to report developments and issues of public interest, analyse and comment on them as well as provide a forum for members of the public to discuss matters arising therefrom. 4.1.2 News and Current Affairs coverages, whether live or reported, call for familiarity with the subject, and a clear demonstration of an understanding or appreciation of all sides of the issue, and should show neither biased involvement nor indifference. 4.1.3 Where archival or library materials must be used to illustrate a current event, such must be clearly identified to avoid confusion, and with discretion to avoid causing emotional pain, offence, embarrassment, or even defamation. 4.1.4 In fulfillment of 4.1.1, each station shall give news and news related programmes at least 5% of the total daily airtime. 4.1.5 Stations approved for monothematic operations may carry only

news 4.2.1

relating to the theme. 4.2 DEFINITIONS News A presentation of a factual account of events and issues. 4.2.2 Current Affairs A presentation of comments, opinion and analysis of topical events and issues. 4.2.3 Newscast An assemblage and presentation of news stories, news analyses as well as commentaries and special reports. 4.2.4 News Analysis 277


A balanced examination of a current issue of public interest, excluding the personal views of the analyst. 4.2.5 News Commentary An expression of opinion personal to the commentary. Newstalk is another name for News Commentary. 4.2.6 Editorial An expression of the opinion of the station. 4.2.7 News Interview and Discussion A news interview or discussion attempts to elicit an informed opinion or fact concerning a matter of public interest. 4.3.1 4.3.2

4.3 NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMMES All sources shall be duly acknowledged. All news and current affairs programmes shall be guided by ethical standards of journalism. 4.3.3 All news stories and special reports shall be factual, presented accurately and impartially. 4.3.4 Programmes devoted to the discussion of controversial public

affairs shall ensure fairness and balance of views. 4.3.5 The selection of news stories shall emphasize good taste, thereby avoiding morbid, sensational, shocking, or alarming details that are not essential to conveying the essence of the events being reported, especially stories on politics, crime, or sex. 4.3.6 Where language or picture(s) that might offend the public must be used to convey the essence of the message, appropriate warning shall be given prior to the broadcast. 4.3.7 News materials shall not be recreated. However, where a reenactment of an event becomes necessary, it shall be so stated. 4.3.8 News commentaries, analyses and editorials shall be clearly identified as such. 4.3.9 Commercials in news and public affairs programmes shall be clearly identified and presented in a manner that shall make them clearly distinguishable from the content. 4.3.10 Adverts placement in all programmes shall be done in such a way that they do not distort the essence of the programme. 4.3.11 News is universally accepted as sacred. Sponsorship of news detracts 278


from its integrity and predisposes a bias in favour of the sponsor. Therefore, newscasts shall not be sponsored, whether by the use of commercial backdrops in television newscasts, or other device, either on radio or television. 4.4 POLITICAL COVERAGES Preamble All political programmes shall observe the provision of extant acts, decrees and electoral laws. 4.4.2 Political party broadcasts, that is, programmes over which content political parties exercise control, shall be only those in which the parties seek to explain their views and policies. 4.4.3 All political broadcasts shall be in decent language. 4.4.4 Political broadcasts shall be clearly identified as such, and shall not be presented in a manner that would mislead the audience to believe that the programne is of any other character. 4.4.5 Equal opportunity and air time shall be provided to all political parties or views, with particular regard to amount of time and belt. 4.4.6 While a broadcast producer may interact with politicians in the course of his professional duties, this interaction shall not be such as to lead to the belief that he is either a member or sympathizer of any political party. 4.4.7 It is the responsibility of every station to produce and report the activities in the political arena in news and programmes; and such production shall be objective and fair. 4.4.8 News and programmes shall promote public discussion of political issues. 4.4.9 Panelists shall be of comparable status. 4.4.10 All stations shall adhere strictly to the rules given by the electoral body. 4.5 LIVE COVERAGES 4.5.1 Live coverages of public events shall be fair and balanced.

4.4.1

4.5.2

The live coverage of public events, especially of demonstrations

and disturbances, shall be fair and balanced and just enough for the enlightenment of the citizenry. It shall not sensationalise or glamorize the event or exploit broadcasting's unique advantages to the detriment of national interest and security. 279


4.6

NEWS INTERVIEWS A news interview or discussion attempts to elicit an informed opinion or fact concerning a matter of public interest. 4.6.1 All news interviews shall be guided by ethical standard of journalism. 4.6.2 Where a news interview excludes an important or newsworthy area of the issue under discussion this shall be stated during the broadcast. 4.6.3 Where an interview entails an agreement to: (a) submit questions in advance, or to (b) exclude an important or newsworthy area concerning the subject, or where further developments have taken place after the recording, this shall be stated at the beginning of the broadcast. 4.7.1 4.7.2 4.7.3

5.2 5.3 5.4

4.7 DISCUSSION PROGRAMMES Panelists in a discussion shall reflect the various viewpoints. Panelists shall be of comparable status. Where a discussion excludes any important or newsworthy area, or where further developments have taken place after the recording, it shall be stated at the beginning of the broadcast. SPORTS AND OUTSIDE BROADCAST 5.1 Preamble General Guidelines Adverts in Live Coverage Exclusivity 5.1

PREAMBLE Outside Broadcasts are coverage, usually live, of major national activities, especially sports, festivals, politics and other public events. 5.2 GENERAL GUIDELINES Coverage of these public events for newscasts and other programmes shall be guided by the General Requirements guidelines for News and Current Affairs. 5.3 ADVERTS IN LIVE COVERAGES The placement of advertisements shall not obstruct, compromise or disrupt the essence of the event. Where they must be placed during the event, the practice for television and cable shall be the placement at a neutral or an eye-piece position, and for radio, a neutral or an ear-piece position or sloganic background. 5.4 EXCLUSIVITY 280


5.4.1

6.2 6.3 6.4 6.1

Coverage of public events of major national importance shall not be exclusive to any single broadcasting organisation. 5.4.2 Where there is any conflict of interest in spite of 5.4.1 above, the National Broadcasting Commission shall be the final arbiter. SPONSORSHIP 6.1 General Definition Identification Restrictions GENERAL Sponsored programmes shall comply, in all respects, with the Code. The general principle that shall govern them is that they shall be legal, decent, and truthful. 6.2 DEFINITION A sponsored programme is one whose production or transmission costs, or both, are paid, in part, or whole, by a party other than the transmitting station, to promote its views, public image, activities, etc. 6.3

IDENTIFICATION A sponsored programme shall be clearly identified as being sponsored, and then indicated only in the opening and closing credits of the programme. 6.4 RESTRICTIONS 6.4.1 The station shall not abdicate responsibility for either the content or the scheduling of a programme to the sponsor. 6.4.2 Reference to the sponsor, his message, product or service is forbidden within the programme being sponsored, except in respect of prizes donated for game shows. 6.4.3 News is universally accepted as sacred. Therefore, newscasts shall not be sponsored. ADVERTISEMENT 7.1 Definition 7.2 Advertising and Broadcasting Standard 7.3 Children and Advertising 7.4 Contents 7.5 Medical 7.6 Alcohol and Tobacco 7.7 Religious Advertisement 7.8 Political Advertisement

281


7.1.1

7.1 DEFINITION For the purpose of this Code the term "advertisement" shall be taken, in its broadest sense, to embrace any form of communication on goods, services and facilities inserted, at a cost, within a programme with the intention of attracting attention and patronage. 7.1.2 For the purpose of this Code, a product is a good or service.

7.1.3 Any illustration included in any advertisement is subject to this Code. 7.2 ADVERTISING AND BROADCASTING STANDARD 7.2.1 The general principle that shall govern all advertisements for broadcasting is that they shall be legal, honest, decent and truthful. 7.2.2 All advertisements shall conform to the Code, especially the programming guidelines. 7.2.3 All advertisement shall comply, in every respect, with advertising ethics and also with the law, whether common or statutory. 7.2.4 No advertisement material shall bring advertising into contempt or erode confidence in advertising as a service to industry and to the public. 7.2.5 No advertisement shall contain any item likely to encourage, incite to crime, lead to disorder, be offensive to public feeling, or to contain an offensive reference to any person alive or dead, or, generally, be disrespectful to human dignity. 7.2.6 There shall be no broadcast of advertisements capable of offending the generality of the community. 7.2.7 The advertiser shall be clearly identified in all advertisements. 7.2.8 Responsibility for the observance of the regulations in this Code rests with the station. 7.2.9 Advertisements shall be clearly identifiable, and separate from the programmes, and shall not, directly or indirectly, be presented as "programmes". 7.2.10 The amount of time for non-programme material, especially advertisement, shall not exceed fifteen percent (15%) of total programme duration or slot. Thus, there is a 4½ - minute limitation on advert time for a 30-minutes programme, and a 9minute limitation for a one-hour programme. 7.2.11 The expression "News Flash", or similar expressions 282


generally used to denote important news and public service announcements, shall not be used in advertisements. 7.2.12 Advertisements featuring actors exploiting their dramatic roles must be packaged in such a way that the viewer is not confused as to whether they are listening to or watching a programme or an advertisement. 7.2.13 Advertisements parodying programmes may be accepted provided: (i) different performers are used from those who appear in the programme itself; and (ii) it is readily apparent that the advertisement is no more than a parody. 7.2.14 Advertisements featuring a leading performer (such as an actor or musician) in a programme shall not be scheduled in breaks within, or airtime adjacent to, that programme. 7.2.15 Every effort shall be made to keep the advertising message in harmony with the content and general tone of the programme in which it appears. 7.2.16 Descriptions, claims or illustrations relating to verifiable facts shall be such as to be easily substantiated. 7.2.17 Statistics shall not be so presented as to imply greater validity than they really have. For example, scientific jargons and irrelevancies shall not be used to make a claim appear to have a scientific basis or universality it dose not possess. 7.2.18 Newscasters personify the sacredness of news, therefore, a person who regularly presents news or current affairs programmes or similar factual programmes shall not feature, visually or vocally, in any advertisement. 7.2.19 Testimonials must be genuine and provable. 7.2.20 The price of every advertised product shall be stated where the price is nationally standardized. 7.2.21 Visual and or verbal presentations of prices must be accurate for such product or a range of products. 7.2.22 Any information in the form of captions, whether standing alone or Super-imposed, must be in a clearly readable text and held long enough for the viewer to read. 7.2.23 Advertisements shall offer a product or service on its positive merit 283


and refrain from unduly discrediting, disparaging or unfairly attacking competitors, competing products, other industries, professions or institutions. 7.2.24 No advertisement shall be accepted if there is good reason to doubt its integrity or the truth of its representation or its compliance with all applicable legal requirements. 7.2.25 No advertisement shall be framed in such a manner as to exploit superstition. 7.2.26 The advertising of fortune-telling or astrology is not permitted. 7.2.27 No advertisement shall be calculated to play on fear to induce people to purchase the article or service advertised 7.2.28 No advertisement shall contain any misleading descriptions, claims or illustrations, directly or by implication, about the product or service being advertised. 7.2.29 A Direct Sales Advertisement shall not be accepted without adequate assurance from the advertiser that there is sufficient stock of the article (or service) advertised to meet reasonable demand. 7.2.30 The advertising of fireworks and firearms is acceptable provided it promotes the product only as sporting equipment and conforms to recognised standards of safety. 7.2.31 No advertisement of a product or service shall be accepted which purports to increase sexual virility or correct sexual weakness. 7.2.32 The lawful advertising of organisations which conduct awardwinning competitions or legalised lotteries is acceptable, provided such advertising does not extort the public or unduly exhort them to engage in betting. 7.2.33 The advertiser who markets more than one product shall not use advertising copy devoted to an acceptable product for the purposes of publicising the brand name or other identification of a product which is not acceptable. 7.2.34 The use of an advertising device such as copy, slogan, labelling or packaging of goods, that is likely to mislead the listener or viewer is unacceptable. 7.2.35 The word "guarantee" should be used only with due regard to its 284


legal meaning. The limits and terms of the guarantee being offered shall be stated clearly or information given as to where the full terms of the guarantee can be obtained. 7.2.36 No advertisement shall be inserted into special broadcasts or any other Grand A broadcast, such as a National Day broadcast by the President. 7.2.37 Advertisement of regulated professions shall be allowed only with the approval of the relevant professional body. 7.2.38 Any advertisement that makes reference to Nigeria or African characteristics in derogatory terms or ridicules them shall not be accepted. 7.2.39 Any advertisement for potentially poisonous products must carry the necessary words of caution. 7.3 7.3.1 presentation

CHILDREN AND ADVERTISING Special caution shall be exercised with the content and

of advertisements placed in or near programmes designed for children. Exploitation of children in any form, shall be avoided. Similarly, an advertisement directed at children shall in no way mislead as to the product's performance and usefulness. 7.3.2 Particular care shall be taken to ensure that an advertisement addressed to children contains nothing, whether by way of illustration or otherwise, which might result in physical, mental or moral harm, or which exploits their natural credulity. 7.3.3 To guarantee safety, children shall not be used for demonstrating a product recognised as potentially dangerous, except under proper adult supervision. 7.3.4 Advertisement shall not encourage children to enter strange places or to converse with strangers. 7.3.5 Direct sales appeals or exhortations shall not be made to children unless the products advertised are such that children can reasonably afford themselves. 7.3.6 Advertisement for a commercial product or service shall not contain any appeal which suggests in any way that unless the children buy the products, they will be failing in some duty or lacking in loyalty 285


towards some person or organisation. 7.3.7 Advertisement shall not lead children to feel inferior to other children because they or their parents do not own the product advertised, or that they are liable to be held in contempt or ridicule for not owning it. 7.3.8 In offering a free gift, a premium or a competition for children, the emphasis of the advertisement shall be only on the product with which the offer is associated. 7.3.9 In advertising a competition for children, the rules shall be published and the value of prizes and the chances of winning shall not be exaggerated. 7.4.1

7.4 CONTESTS Contests shall be conducted with fairness to all competitors and shall comply with all pertinent laws and regulations. 7.4.2 All contest details, including the rules, eligibility requirements, opening and termination dates, etc, shall be adequately announced, and winners' names shall be released as soon as possible 7.4.3 There shall be no misleading description, or visual misrepresentations, of any promises or gifts which would distort or enlarge their value in the minds of the viewer/listener. 7.4.4 Assurance shall be obtained from the advertiser that premiums or gifts offered are available and are not harmful to persons or property. 7.4.5 Premium shall not be accepted which appeal to superstitions such

as "luck-bearing" powers. 7.5.1

7.5 MEDICAL In the advertising of medical products, claims that a product will effect a cure and the indiscriminate use of such words as "safe", "without risk", "harmless" or terms with similar meaning, shall not be accepted unless so certified by the appropriate authority. 7.5.2 An advertising material which describes or dramatises distress or a morbid situation in an offensive manner shall not be accepted. 7.5.3 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains an offer of a medicine or product, or an advice relating to the treatment of serious diseases, complaints, conditions, indications or symptoms which should rightly receive the attention of a registered medical practitioner. 7.5.4 An advertisement of products, medicines or treatment for 286


disorders or irregularities peculiar to women shall not contain expressions such as "inducing abortion", "relieving period pains", "not to be used in case of pregnancy", "never known to fail", etc. 7.5.5 An advertisement shall not contain a copy which is exaggerated by reason of the improper use of words, phrases or expressions, such as "magic", "magical", "miracle", "miraculous", etc. 7.5.6 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it offers any product or treatment for beauty, sliming, weight reduction or figure control, without stating the likely side-effects. 7.5.7 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains any offer to diagnose or treat complaints or conditions by hypnosis. 7.5.8 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it is calculated to induce fear in the viewer/listener that he is suffering, or may, without treatment, suffer, or suffer more severely, from any ailment, illness or disease. 7.5.9 An advertisement which offers to diagnose, and, or treat by correspondence, any ailment, illness, disease or symptom shall not be accepted. 7.5.10 An advertisement which offers to refund money to dissatisfied users shall not be accepted. 7.5.11 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains the words "clinic", "institute", "laboratory", or similar terms, unless an establishment corresponding to the description used does, in fact, exist. 7.5.12 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains any reference to "doctor", "hospital test", unless such reference can be substantiated by independent evidence. 7.5.13 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains, in the name of the product, the title, "Doctor" Or "Dr", unless that is the registered trade mark. 7.5.14 An advertisement shall not be broadcast if it contains any material offering cure for cancer, AIDS, venereal disease or any other ailment which requires the attention of a medical doctor.

287


7.6.1

7.6 ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO An advertisement or the offer of a "gift" item promoting an alcoholic beverage or tobacco product shall not be broadcast in a children's or sports programme 7.6.2 Children, sportsmen/women and expectant mothers shall not be used as models in alcohol advertisements 7.6.3 An advertisement for an alcoholic beverage or tobacco product

shall respect religious sensitivities. 7.6.4 An advertisement for an alcoholic beverage or tobacco product shall be aired only during adult listening/viewing periods. For television, advertisement for alcoholic beverages and tobacco products shall not be broadcast before 9.45 p.m. 7.6.5 Sponsorships of programmes and events by alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are allowed, but the content must respect all other clauses of this Code. 7.7.1

7.7 RELIGIOUS ADVERTISEMENT Advertisement by religious persuasions, including trado-religious practice, shall not contain statements or visual presentations which, directly or indirectly, are likely to mislead the listener/viewer with regard to claims of miracles, hypnotism, seance, palm reading, etc. 7.7.2 Religious announcements that deceive people into believing that miracles are common-place events shall not be accepted for broadcast by any station. 7.7.3 Any advertisement that disparages the religious beliefs of other people shall not be transmitted by any broadcast station.

7.8 POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT A political advertisement shall be guided by this Code and other relevant regulations. 7.8.2 In the interest of fairness and balance and to prevent the monetization of political broadcast, any form of commercialization of political news or coverage is forbidden. 7.8.3 No advertisement, including commercial news, shall be accepted in a political programme.

7.8.1

288


7.8.4

No advertisement shall contain anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity, sovereignty and corporate existence of Nigeria as a secular state. 7.8.5 The advertiser shall be clearly identified in all advertisements. REPORTING PROCEDURE AND SANCTIONS

9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.1

9.1.2 9.1.3

9.2.1

Preamble Definitions Breaches Sanction Process Public Hearing Procedure Range of Sanctions Warning Classes of Sanction Breaches and Sanction Grouping PREAMBLE

There are penalties for the infringement of the provisions of the National Broadcasting Commission Decree no. 38 of 1992 and the National Broadcasting Code. 9.1.1 The responsibilities of a station, in relation to the regulatory powers of the Commission, are contained in paragraphs 1 to 7 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Decree. The penalties for infringement of the responsibilities in 9.1.1 above are contained in items 8 and 9 of the Decree. The Commission may, from time to time, institute other regulatory measures. 9.2 DEFINITIONS Report An observation or complaint of public concern, made about a broadcast station needing rectification by the station at the instance of the Commission. 9.2.2 Breach A commission or omission by a station that violates the NBC Decree and, or, the Code. 9.2.3 Sanctions Procedure The procedure by the Commission to effect/enforce the rectifying of a breach. 9.2.4 Monitoring Simultaneous or post-broadcast assessment of a station's 289


programming or technical output for ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Decree and, or, the Code. 9.2.5 Restriction An order directing a station to exclude from transmission, a programme or the use of a technical item considered not conductive or relevant to the Nigerian audience. 9.2.6 Caution A notice directing a station to desist from a practice which breaches the Decree or the Code. 9.2.7 Reprimand An expression of disapproval of a breach in the Class B offences category. 9.2.8 Warning A serious admonition over a breach 9.2.9 Restitution An on-air apology, imposed on a station by the NBC, for certain categories of offences. 9.2.10 Broadcast Hour Reduction Restriction of a station to a fraction of its normal broadcast hour 9.2.11 Suspension of Transmission An order for a station to go off-air for a specific duration. 9.2.12 Shut Down An order of indefinite closure of a station's broadcast. 9.2.13 Public Hearing A forum constituted by the Commission, including one or more member(s) of the public, for the hearing of a serious report made by either a member, or members of the viewing or listening public, or arising from the Commission's monitoring activities. 9.3 BREACHES 9.3.1 General 9.3.1.1 Transmitting without a valid, or any, license. 9.3.1.2 Offering for sale, selling or having possession for the purpose of sale, any installation, mechanism, instruments, materials or other apparatus constructed for the purpose of , or intended to be used for , broadcast for public reception without a license , in that behalf. 9.3.1.3 Non-compliance with section 14 (2) (a) of Decree No. 38 of 1992. 9.3.1.4 Non-compliance with paragraphs 3, 4 and 8 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38 9.3.2 Technical 9.3.2.1 Deviation from assigned frequency. 9.3.2.2 Transmitting beyond assigned area. 290


(a)

Specifications for coverage area are contained in Section 8.2.5 of the code with the following field strengths: S/N RATIO dB

FIELD TRENGTH d B

microvolt/m BAND I BAND II BAND III BAND IV

35 35 39 39

44 54 64 70

(b) For Radio, see section 8.2.5. of the Code. For Cable, see Section 8. 7. 1.5. of the Code. Cable operators are allowed 20 watts per Channel. 9.3.2.3 Operating a transmitter above approved power without prior approval of the Commission. 9.3.2.4 Poor quality of transmission within assigned boundary, as specified in the Code for Television, Radio and Cable Television. 9.3.2.5 Breach of installation and safety specifications. 9.3.2.6 Operating a broadcast station without at least a COREN- registered engineer. 9.3.2.7 Failure to comply with equipment and operations specifications as stated in the Code. 9.3.3. Programmes 9.3.3.1 Broadcast of information immediately leading, or likely to lead, to a breakdown of law and order. 9.3.3.2 Non-compliance with a closure or broadcast hour reduction order 9.3.3.3 Non-compliance with paragraphs 2,5,6 and 7 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38. 9.3.3.4 Contravention of some or all of the provisions guiding Programming, Programmes, News and Currents Affairs, Sports and Outside Broadcast, Sponsorships and Advertisement specified in this Code. 9.4 SANCTION PROCESS 9.4.1 Complaint Format 9.4.1.1. Stations shall be made to adhere to the Code through: (a) monitoring by the National Broadcasting Commission and, (b) observations and complaints by an individual or body corporate, who may insist on a conclusive treatment of such observation or complaints. (c) The Commission shall be notified of all complaints originating from (b) above. (c)

291


(a) (b) (c) (d) (E)

9.4.1.2 All complaints and observations of lapses or breaches of the Code, either by the Commission, an individual, a body corporate or station, shall be in written form, and shall contain, amongst others, the following:The name of the station. The title of the programme. The day and date of the broadcast. The time of the broadcast The essence of the complaint or observation, such as the objectionable absence of fairness or the objectionable presence of bias, obscenity, or technical shortcoming, etc. 9.4.2 Cultural Sensitivities The Code and sanctioning process shall give due consideration to the cultural background of the community in which a breach is reported, bearing in mind that what is objectionable in one socio-cultural setting may be viewed differently in another. However, a national standard shall be observed by the broadcasting industry. 9.4.3 Weight of Sanction The sanction shall be carefully weighed against the gravity of the breach in line with the broadcasting objectives. 9.5 9.5.1

PUBLIC HEARING PROCEDURE The Commission shall serve the station an order to show cause

why a revocation or a "cease and desist" injunction should not be issued. 9.5.2 Where a Public Hearing becomes imperative, and the process, as contained in the Code, is duly employed, the Commission's administrative costs shall be borne by the station in addition to the eventual penalty, if any. 9.6 9.6.1

RANGE OF SANCTIONS General A station stands the risk of a revocation of its license if it commits a serious breach of either the technical or non-technical aspects of the Code, as contained in section 8 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38 of 1992. Other sanctions range from reprimand to warning, light or heavy fine, reduction of broadcast hours or suspension of license , depending on the gravity of the offence. 9.6.2 A fine may be decided on by the Commission at any given time, even after a warning might have been issued.

292


9.6.3

A fine must be paid by the due date: failure to comply will lead to a higher fine being imposed. A further failure to comply shall lead to a severer sanction than the fine. 9.6.4 The revocation of a license is final and no re-application may be tolerated by the NBC from the same Company or persons. 9.6.5 Following the revocation of its license , a station must dismantle its equipment within the stipulated time or face forfeiture. 9.6.6 Where corrective action, such as the Right of Reply, is required, this

9.7.2

9.8.1.2 9.8.1.3 9.8.1.4 9.8.1.5

must be implemented within 24 hours. 9.7 WARNING: 9.7.1 Operating without a license is a criminal offence. Persistent refusal to comply with the provisions of the Code would lead to the raising of a sanction to a higher class. 9.8 CLASSES OF SANCTION 9.8.1 Class A 9.8.1.1 Revocation of license Immediate shut down/seal up of the transmitter and stations. Seizure and forfeiture of the transmitting equipment. Suspension of license with a recommencement fee of not less than N2m 9.8.2 Class B 9.8.2.1 Written warning to remedy/rectify breach within a specific time frame failing which a fine of not less than N100,000.00 shall be imposed. 9.8.2.2 Failure to comply necessitates reduction of the daily broadcast hours for a given period; recommencement of full broadcast hours subject to a fine of not less than N500,000.00 9.8.2.3 Suspension of license for a given period with a recommencement fine of not less than N1,000,000.00.

9.8.3 Class C 9.8.3.1 Various categories of fine, including stiffer fines for noncompliance. 9.8.3.2 For advertisements, a fine of the value of the placements, plus 20% of that value. 9.8.3.3 Fine of N10,000 for every 1% in excess of the foreign, or religious content allowed by the Code. 9.8.3.4 A graduated fine of N25,000 for each offence not remedied within the time given. 293


9.9

BREACHES AND SANCTIONS GROUPING Breaches Applicable Sanction 9.9.1 Transmission without a license Class A 9.9.2 Intentional deviation from Assigned frequencies Class A 9.9.3 Offering for sale, selling or having possession for the purpose of sale, any installation, mechanism, instrument, materials or other apparatus, constructed for the purpose of or intended to be used for broadcast for public reception without a license in that behalf. Class A 9.9.4 Broadcast of information immediately leading, or likely to lead, to a breakdown of law and order. Class A 9.9.5 Contravention of paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Third Schedule of Decree No. 38. Class A 9.9.6 Non-compliance with the closure/ broadcast hour reduction order Class A 9.9.7 Non-compliance with sections 13(1)(e) and 14(2)(a), and paragraph 8 of the Third Schedule of the Decree. Class A 9.9.8 Willful or repeated failure to observe any law enacted or treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria Class A 9.9.9 False statements knowingly made either in the Application Forms or any statement of facts as may be required pursuant to section 9 of Decree No. 38. Class A 9.9.10 Information reaching the Commission which would have warranted it in the original application to refuse to grant a broadcast license . Class A 9.9.11 Deviation from assigned frequency due to equipment or system failure. Class B 9.9.12 Deviation from assigned frequency 294


causing harmful interference. Class B 9.9.13 Transmission beyond assigned area. Class B 9.9.14 Operating a transmitter above the specified transmission power. Class B 9.9.15 Poor quality transmission within assigned transmission area. Class B 9.9.16 Breach of approved equipment specifications Class B 9.9.17 Breach of installation and safety specification Class B 9.9.18 Contravention of the following sections of the Code: 2.3.1; 2.3.2; 2.3.4; 2.3.5; 2.3.6; 2.3.6.2; 2.3.6.3; 2.3.8; 3.6; 4.4; 4.5; 6.3; 6.4.1. Class B 9.9.19 Non-compliance with paragraphs 5,6 & 7 of the Third Schedule of Decree No 38 Class B 9.9.20 Non-compliance with section 14(2)(a) of Decree No 38 Class B 9.9.21 Operating without a CORENregistered Engineer. Class B 9.9.22 Non-compliance with section 9(1) of Decree No. 38 Class C 9.9.23 Taking promotions and/or advertisements where and when not authorised during transmission Class C 9.9.24 Exceeding the percentage broadcast Period allowed per day for Promotions and/or advertisements Class C 9.9.25 Exceeding foreign or religious Programmes content allowed in a weekly broadcast period. Class C

295


APPENDIX IV RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM NTA ACT 1977 7.- (1) The Authority shall, to the exclusion of any other broadcasting authority or any person in Nigeria, be responsible for television broadcasting in Nigeria and , accordingly, the transitional and savings provisions in the Second Schedule to this Act shall have effect notwithstanding the provisions of any law under which any other broadcasting authority is established; and every such law shall be constructed with such modifications, amendments and omissions as would bring it into line with the general intendment of this Act. (2) In this section, "broadcasting authority" means any authority (whether or not a statutory corporation and howsoever known or designated) set up by the Government of the Federation or by any State or group of States as a public body charged with responsibility, whether wholly or partially for television broadcasting. APPENDIX V RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM FRCN ACT 1978 6. (1) The Corporation shall, to the exclusion of any other broadcasting authority in Nigeria, be responsible for radio broadcasting in short-wave or powerful medium wave for effective and simultaneous reception in more than one state at any one time and, accordingly, any other broadcasting authority in Nigeria shall be limited to transmission of radio broadcasts for effective reception in one State or part thereof and, in pursuance of this subsection, every radio broadcasting authority in Nigeria (other than those owned or controlled by the Government of the Federation) shall, as soon as may be after the making of this Act, endeavour to transmit at such power as to ensure that the field strength, as measured at the State boundary, of which the transmitter is located, shall not be more than one millivolt per meter. (2) In this section "broadcasting authority" means any authority (whether or not a statutory corporation and howsoever known or designated) set up by the Government of any State or group of States or by any other person or authority as a body charged with responsibility, either wholly or partially, for radio broadcasting.

296


APPENDIX VI RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM THE NIGERIAN COPYRIGHT ACT PART I COPYRIGHT 1. Works Eligible for copyright (1) Subject to this section, the following shall be eligible for copyright. (a) ………………………………. (f) broadcasts. 5. General Nature of Copyright (1) Subject to exceptions specified in the Second Scheduled to this Act, copyright in a work shall be the exclusive right to control the doing in Nigeria of any of the following acts, that is (a) in the case of a literary or musical work, to do and authorise the doing of any of the following acts (a) …………………………… (i) …………………………… (vii) broadcast or communicate the work to the public by a loud-speaker or any other similar device. (c) …………………………… (i) …………………………… (ii) cause the film, in so far as it consists of visual images to be seen in public and, in so far as it consist of sounds, to be heard in public. 6. Nature of Copyright in sound recording (1) Copyright in a sound recording shall be the exclusive right to control in Nigeria (a) the direct or indirect reproduction, broadcasting or communication to the public of the whole or a substantial part of the recording either in its original form or in any form recognizably derived from the original; (b) the distribution to the public for commercial purposes of copies of the work by way of rental, lease, hire, loan or similar arrangement. 7. Nature of Copyright in Broadcast (1) Subject to this section, copyright in a broadcast shall be the exclusive right to control the doing in Nigeria of any of the following acts, that is (a) the recording and the re-broadcasting of the whole or substantial part of the 297


broadcast; (b) the communication to the public of the whole or a substantial part of a television broadcast, either in its original form or in any form recognizably derived from the original; and (c) the distribution to the public for commercial purpose, of copies of the work, by way of rental, lease, hire, loan or similar arrangement. (2) The copyright in a television broadcast shall include the right to control the taking of still photographs from the broadcast. (3) The exceptions specified in paragraph (a), (h), (k), (n), and (o) of the Second Schedule of this Act shall apply to the copyright in a broadcast, in like manner as they apply to copyright in literary, musical or artistic work or a cinematograph film. 8. Broadcasting or works incorporated in Cinematograph film (1) Where the owner of the copyright in any literary musical or artistic work authorizes a person to incorporate the work in a cinematograph film and a broadcasting authority broadcast the film, the owner of copyright shall, in the absence of any express agreement to the contrary between the owner and that person, be deemed to have authorized the broadcast. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, where a broadcasting authority broadcasts a cinematograph film in which a musical work is incorporated, the owner of the right to broadcast the musical work shall, subject to this Act, be entitled to receive fair compensation from the broadcasting authority. (b) In the absence of an agreement on or relating to the compensation payable under subsection (2) of this section, the amount of compensation shall be determined by the court. 11. Right to Claim Authorship (1) The author of a work in which copyright subsists (has the right): (a) to claim authorship of his work, in particular that his authorship be indicated in connection with any of the acts referred to in section 5 of this Act except when the work is included incidentally or accidentally when reporting current events by means of broadcasting: 14. Infringement of Copyright (1) Copyright is infringed by any person who without the license or authorization of the owner of the copyright: (a) does, or causes any other person to do an act, the doing of which is controlled by copyright: (b) imports or causes to be imported into Nigeria any copy of a work which if it had been made in Nigeria would be an infringing copy under this section of this Act; 15. Action for Infringement 298


(1) Subject to this Act, infringement of copyright shall be actionable at the suit of the owner, assignee or an exclusive licensee of the copyright, as the case may be, in the Federal High Court exercising jurisdiction in the place where the infringement occurred; and in any action for such an infringement, all such relief by way of damages, injunction, accounts or otherwise shall be available to the plaintiff as is available in any corresponding proceedings in respect of infringement of other proprietary right. (2) Where an action for infringement of copyright brought by the copyright owner or an exclusive licensee relates to an infringement in respect of which they have concurrent rights of action, the copyright owner or the exclusive licensee may not, without the leave of court, proceed with the action unless the other is either joined as a plaintiff or added as a defendant. (3) Where in an action for infringement of copyright, it is proved or admitted that an infringement was committed but that at the time of infringement, the defendant was not aware and had no reasonable ground for suspecting that copyright subsisted in the work to which the action relates, the plaintiff shall not be entitled under this section to any damages against the defendant in respect of the infringement, but shall be entitled to an account of profits in respect of the infringement, whether or not any other relief is granted under this section. (4) Where in an action under this section, an infringement of copyright is proved or admitted, and the court in which the action is brought, having regard (apart from all other material considerations) to: (a) the flagrancy of the infringement; and (b) the benefit shown to have accrued to the defendant by reason of the infringement; is satisfied that effective relief would not otherwise be available to the plaintiff, the court, in assessing damages for the infringement, shall have power to award such additional damages by virtue of this subsection as the court may consider appropriate in the circumstances. (6) In this section, "action" includes a counter-claim, and references to the plaintiff and to the defendant in an action shall be construed accordingly. 16. Conversion Rights All infringing copies of any work in which copyright subsists, or of any substantial part thereof, and all plates, master, tapes, machines, equipment or contrivances used, or intended to be used for the production of such infringing copies shall be deemed to be the property of the owner, assignee or exclusive licensee, as the case may be, of the copyright, who accordingly may take proceeding for the recovery or the possession therefore in respect of the conversion thereof. 299


17. Criminal Liability (1) Any person who: (a) .................................... (b) imports or causes to be imported into Nigeria a copy of any work which if it had been made in Nigeria would be an infringing copy, and (c) makes, causes to be made, or has in his possession, any plate, master tape, machine, equipment or contrivance for the purposes of making any infringing copy of any such work; shall, unless he proves to the satisfaction of the court that he did not know, and had no reason to believe that any such copy was an infringing copy of any such work, be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of an amount of this section or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or to both such fine and imprisonment. 2. Any person who(a) ...................................... (b) distributes for the purposes of trade or business any infringing copy of any such works; or (c) has in his possession other than for his private or domestic use, any infringing copy of any such work; or (D) has in his possession, sells, lets for hire or distribution for the purposes of trade or business or exposes or offers for sale or hire any copy of a work which if it had been made in Nigeria would be an infringing copy; shall, unless he proves to the satisfaction of the court that he did not know and had no reason to believe that any such copy was an infringing copy of any such work, be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N100 for every copy dealt with in contravention of this section, or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or in the case of an individual to both such fine and imprisonment. (3) Any person who, without the consent of the owner, distributes in public for commercial purposes, copies of a work in which copyright subsists by virtue of sections 5(1) (a)(vi), 5(1)(c)(iv), 6(1)(b) or 7(1)(c) of this Act by way of rental, lease, hire, loan or similar arrangement, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act, and shall be liable upon conviction to a fine of N100 for every copy dealt with or imprisonment for six months or to both such fine and imprisonment. (4) The court before which any proceedings are taken for any offence under subsections (1), (2) and (3) of this section, whether the alleged offender is convicted or not, may order all copies of the works, plates, master tapes, machines, equipment and contrivances in the possession of the alleged offender, which appear to be infringing copies, of the works, to be destroyed or delivered up to the owner of the copyright or otherwise dealt with as the court may think fit. (5) Where an article has been seized by a police officer or an authorised officer in connection with a suspected offence under this Act, a court may on the application of the Attorney-General of the Federation or owner of the 300


copyright in connection with which such offence is suspected to have been committed, order that the article be destroyed or delivered up to the owner of the copyright or otherwise dealt with as the court may think fit, not withstanding that no person had been charged with the suspected offence. 19. Offence by Bodies Corporate (1) Where an offence under this Act has been committed by a body corporate, the body corporate and every person who at the time the offence was committed was in charge of, or was responsible to the body corporate for the conduct of the business of the body corporate shall be deemed be guilty of such offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly; Provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall render any person liable to any punishment, if he proves that offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence, to prevent the commission of such offence. (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (1) of this section, where an offence under this Act has been committed by a body corporate and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance of, director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate such director, manager, secretary or other officer shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. (3) For the purpose of this section "body corporate" includes a firm or other association of persons; and "director" in relation to a firm includes a partner in the firm. (21) Civil and criminal actions may be simultaneous Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, it shall be permissible for both criminal and civil actions to be taken simultaneously in respect of the same infringement under this Act. PART II NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS 23. Performer's right A performer shall have the exclusive right to control, in relation to his performance, the following acts, that is: (a) ............................... (b) broadcasting live;

(1

(b

25. Infringement of performer's right broadcasts live, or includes live in a cable programme, the whole or a substantial part of the live performance; (e) broadcasts, or includes in a cable programme, a substantial part of the performance by means of recording which is, and which that person knows or has reason to believe was made without the performer's consent;

301


(26) Infringement of a Performer's Right Actionable (1) An infringement of a right protected under section 23 of this Act shall be actionable by the person entitled to the right as a breach of statutory duty and the performer shall be entitled to damages, injunction, account for profit or conversion. (2) Where a person has in his possession, custody or control, in the course of trade or business or otherwise than for a private or domestic use, an unauthorised recording of a performance, a person having the performer's right or recording rights in relation to the performance under this section shall be entitled to an order of the court that the recording be forfeited and delivered up to him. 27. Criminal liability in respect of infringement of performer's right (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 25 of this Act, a person who does any set of acts set out in the said section 25 shall unless he proves to the satisfaction of the court that he did not know that his conduct was an infringement of the performer's right, be liable on conviction(a) in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding N10,000; (b) in the case of body corporate, to a fine of N50,000, (c) in all other cases, to a fine of N100 for each copy dealt with in contravention or to imprisonment for twelve months or to both such fine and imprisonment. (2) A court before which an offence under this section is tried shall order that the recording or any other part thereof be delivered to the performer. 28. Protection of expressions of folklore (1) Expressions of folklore are protected against (a) .................................... (b) communication to the public by performance, broadcasting, distribution by cable or other means; 29. Infringement of Folklore Any person who, without the consent of The Nigerian Copyright Council, uses an expression of folklore in a manner not permitted by section 28 of this Act shall be in breach of statutory duty and be liable to the Council in damages, injunctions and any other remedies as the court may deem fit to award in the circumstances. PART IV MISCELLANEOUS 39.Interpretation (I) ................................... (a) .................................. (f) ................................... "Author" in the case of a broadcast transmitted from within any country, 302


means the person by whom the arrangements for the making or the transmission from within that country were undertaken; "Broadcast" means sound or television broadcast by wireless telegraphy or wire or both, or by satellite or cable programmes and includes re-broadcast; "Broadcasting Authority" means any authority established under any law in Nigeria or elsewhere providing broadcasting services for public reception; "Cable Programmes" means visual images, sounds or other information sent by means of a telecommunication system otherwise than by wireless telegraphy for reception (a) at two or more places (whereas for simultaneous reception or at different times) in response to request by different users; or (b) for presentation to members of the public; "Copyright" means copyright under this Act; "Court" means the federal High Court; "exclusive license ' means a license signed by or on behalf of a copyright owner, authorising the licensee to the exclusion of all other persons (including the person granting the license ), to exercise any right which would otherwise be exercisable exclusively by the copyright owner, "License " means a lawfully granted license permitting the doing of an act controlled by this Act; "Literary Work" includes, irrespective of literary quality, any of the following works or works similar thereto (a) ..................................... (b) Plays, stage directions, film scenarios and broadcasting scripts; "Re-Broadcast" means a simultaneous or subsequent broadcast by one broadcasting authority of the broadcast of another broadcasting authority; TERMS OF COPYRIGHT 1. ..................................... 4. Broadcasts. Fifty years after the end of the year in which the broadcast first took place.

1. (1)

FOURTH SCHEDULE COMPULSORY LICENSE FOR TRANSLATION AND REPRODUCTION OF CERTAIN WORKS ........................................... 4. License for domestic broadcasting organisation. any broadcasting organisation in Nigeria or any qualified person who is 303


the holder of a license for a television or broadcasting station may apply to the council for a license to produce and publish the translation of(a) a work referred to in paragraph 2 of this schedule and published in printed or analogue forms of reproduction; or (B) any text incorporated in audio-visual fixations prepared and published solely for the purpose of systematic instructional activities, for broadcasting such translation for the purpose of teaching or for the dissemination of the results of specialised, technical or scientific research to the experts in any particular field. APPENDIX VII RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM THE APCON CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE RESPONSIBILITIES OF APCON The Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria was established by Decree 55 of 1988, and charged with the following responsibilities: (a) determining who are advertising practitioners; (b) setting the standards of knowledge required of such practitioners; (c) compiling and maintaining a register of practitioners; (d) regulating and controlling the practice of advertising in all its aspects and ramifications; (e) conducting examination in the profession; (f) other functions related to the above. In pursuance of the above functions, Council has approved this code for the control of advertising in all its ramifications. As stipulated in the enabling decree, nobody can practice advertising for profit in any form in Nigeria without first being registered with APCON. Any contravention of this provision is punishable under the law. (1) (2) (3)

1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES Advertisements must not use visual illustrations that offend public taste and decency. In particular, no obscene exposure will be allowed in any advertisement. Advertisements should not exploit sex in obvious or implied contexts by depicting one sex as weaker or subservient by casting one group as inferior to the other. The appeal to fear must not be used without justification in advertisements. Even where it is appropriate as in health and disease, caution must be exercised to ensure that decorum is maintained. 304


(4) (5) (6) (7)

(8)

(9)

(10)

(11)

(12) (13)

(14)

(15)

Advertisements must not encourage the popularization of negative myths and superstitious beliefs, even when these are based on aspects of our culture, philosophy and world view. Advertisements for household or industrial products that need to be handled with care must reflect concern for safety, especially with regard to children and handicapped people. Testimonials and endorsements must be genuine, and the models used must be suitable for the products, services and ideas they endorse. Promotions must not only be genuine, but must also appear to be so to the public. The claims as to prizes won must be verifiable. No exaggerated claims or winnings are allowed, and as much as possible, ordinary members of the public should be involved in the selection of winners. Advertisements should contain nothing which is in breach of Nigerian and international copyright laws, nor omit anything which the law require. When in doubt about what the existing and operating laws require, practitioners should seek guidance from the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. The rights of individuals to privacy must be respected, and proper contractual agreements must be entered into by agencies, advertisers and models. Pictures and property of individuals should not be used arbitrarily without the prior consent of the rightful owners. Advertisements for educational institutions, and course of study must show correct street address(es) where personal calls could be made to ascertain the genuineness of claims contained in the advertisements. Such advertisements should not contain promises of automatic employment after training. Advertisements for financial service must contain nothing which is in breach of the laws, not omit anything which the law requires. When in doubt, practitioners should seek clarification from the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. Advertisements must not disparage the religious beliefs of the people, nor deceive people into believing that miracles are common place events. The propagation of religious faith deserves utmost care. The depiction of violence against people, products or other objects must be avoided, especially in advertisements directed at children and mentally handicapped people who may not be able to distinguish the media world from the real world. Advertisements for political parties and politicians should not unnecessarily employ negative motives. Where there is a role for "opposition research" and "opposition advertising" in political advertising campaigns, the virtues of highlighting a positive outlook should be encouraged. As much as possible, political advertising campaigns should focus on the 305


(16) (17)

salient issues that concern the greatest number of voters. Though the age-old and worldwide practice of individuals, societies, clubs, etc. buying media space and/or air time directly is respected, unethical direct media buying should not be encouraged. Media should not grant commission, discounts or other incentives to individuals or groups that engage in unethical and unprofessional conduct in media buying.

SPECIAL CATEGORIES OF ADVERTISEMENTS 3. GUIDELINES: ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES 1. Radio and Television No advertisement for alcoholic beverages will be allowed in children's programmes. Children, sports men and women will not be used as models. There must be no religious connotations in advertisements. 8. Timing Television commercials for alcoholic beverages should not be aired before 9.45 p.m. On radio, no commercials will be allowed during children's and sports programmes. 11. Vetting All advertisement for alcoholic beverages should be cleared with APCON before they are exposed through the media to the public. 4. GUIDELINES: TOBACCO PRODUCTS 4. Radio/TV/Cinema/Commercials On radio, the warning must be voiced and heard clearly. On television and cinema, the warning must be voiced and also clearly visible as part of the commercial. 6. Elements/Models in Ads. a. Only adults can be used in tobacco ads. b. pregnant women should not be used as models. c. Sports men and women should not be used as models. 7. a. b. c. d. 5.

Timing on Radio/TV/Cinema Tobacco ads must not be broadcast or screened during religious and/or children's programmes. No tobacco commercial on radio will be broadcast before 6.00 p.m. No tobacco commercial on television will be broadcast before 9.45 p.m. No tobacco commercial will be screened in the cinema theatre when children make up the large part of the audience. GUIDELINES: DIRECT MEDIA BUYING 306


1. APCON does not approve of direct media buying and media brokerage service when these are done contrary to the ethics of the advertising profession. Direct media buying and/or media brokerage service must adequately protect the interest of the advertiser, the medium owner, the advertising agency and the consumer. These interests concern the quality of service and economy of rates to the advertiser and consumer on one hand; as well as the income of the medium owner and the advertising agency on the other hand. In furtherance of the need to sanitize the practice of advertising in Nigeria, the following sectorial procedures should be observed henceforth. a. Only recognized AAPN member agencies will practice as professional advertising agencies, and they only will be entitled to the traditional agency commissions. b. Only recognized OAAN member companies will practice the advertising profession as it relates to the outdoor medium. c. All AAPN agencies should, in their professional practice, use only media organizations that belong to the following sectorial bodies: Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) 4. AAPN, ADVAN, BON, CAA, NPAN and OAAN must take effective steps to monitor the activities of their respective corporate members, and where necessary, discipline them to ensure that all members adhere strictly to the guidelines and codes of ethics of the advertising profession. 5. APCON states categorically that advertising agencies, media owners and advertisers or clients interrelate strictly and legally as "principals" with each keeping to its area of specialization. The media owners, in the sectorial groups BON, CAA, NPAN and OAAN are expected to blacklist brands on whose advertising campaigns an advertising agency has overstretched its credit limits. Such blacklisting is intended to ensure that advertising agencies promptly meet their financial obligations to media owners. 6. Where an advertiser does not retain the services of an advertising agency, the advertiser must ensure that its media purchase orders and relevant advertising materials are duly endorsed by an advertising practitioner, in the advertiser's employment, who must quote his or her registration number with APCON. 7. All media owners will be responsible for ensuring that these guidelines are strictly adhered to. 8. APCON recognizes that there will always be individuals, societies, clubs, etc, whose advertising requirements may not justify the need for the services of an ad. agency. Such categories of advertisers may still buy 307


media directly. However, the onus to ensure strict adherence to the ethics and code of advertising practice will lie on the advertising practitioners within media organisations.

2.

3.

4.

5. 6. 7.

8.

9.

10.

6. GUIDELINES: MEDIA OWNERS: 1. Rate All media rates should be adequately published for the information of advertisers, agencies and the general public. Rate Changes Media rate changes should be adequately notified to advertisers, agencies and the general public and the period of notice must not be less than 90 days prior to the change. Rate Cards All conditions relating to the acceptance of advertisements should be clearly stated in the media rate cards. Cash discount, rebates and similar incentives should be clearly stated in media rate cards. Equal Opportunities Equal opportunities to buy media space or air time should be given to all agencies and advertisers. The principle of "first come, first served" should be adhered to at all times. Commissions Agency commissions should be extended only to members of AAPN. Competitive Ads Placing of ads for competitive brands next to each other should be avoided as much a possible to ensure fair competition. Credit Facilities While media owners are encouraged to grant credit facilities to AAPN members, the details of such facilities should be negotiated individually between media owners and advertising agencies. Black-Listing Before the media blacklists a brand on which an outstanding debt has not been paid, due notice should be served on the agency and advertiser concerned. Offensive Advertisement It is the responsibility of all media owners to ensure that no advertisement in their media offends against any part of the Code or the law. Endorsement Every advertising material and media purchase order (except for personal paid announcements) must be duly endorsed by an APCON 308


11. 12.

13.

14.

15.

2.

member not below the grade of FULL MEMBER. Audience Interest Commercial breaks on radio, television and cinema should show regard for the interest of the audience Outdoor Regulations All outdoor boards and structures should be sited, and maintained, with due regard for the local bye-laws, state laws and industry guidelines. Outdoor and Environment All outdoor boards and structures should be sited and maintained, with adequate consideration for the safety of the public and the protection of the environment. Sectorial guideline All other guidelines, outside this Code, adopted by the sectorial groups: AAPN, ADVAN, BON, CAA, NPAN, OAAN must be in consonance with the spirit and letter of this Code. Product Registration Media houses should not accept for publication or broadcast any advertisements for foods, cosmetics, medicines and devices, unless there is evidence that such products have been registered by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration And Control (NAFDAC) as required by law. 14. GUIDELINES: BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES Preamble These regulations apply to all advertisements for commercial and merchant banking, mortgage financing, general financing and insurance services. The law currently demands that all advertisements for banking and financial services must be approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria before the media exposure of the advertisements. 1. General All advertisements for banking and financial services should, in addition to other provisions of the Code, be prepared with care to ensure that members of the public fully appreciate many commitments into which they may enter as a result of responding to the advertisement. Advertisers should note that the complexities of finance are beyond the understanding of the general public and should therefore not take advantage of this situation. Address All advertisements in newspapers, magazines and other print media (except outdoor) should bear at least the corporate street address of the 309


advertiser. 3. Deposits and Interest Rates Where rates of interest are stated, the rate per annum should be clearly indicated 4. Tenor Where deposits are solicited for a minimum period, the tenor of such deposits with the rates payable should be clearly stated. 5. Naira (i)

The reproduction of the Naira in advertisements in the same size as the real note in colour or black and white should be avoided. (ii) Coins may be reproduced in print but cutout or diecut reproduction in any material should be avoided. (iii) Advertisements that feature Naira notes or coins must encourage proper handling 6. Coded Accounts No advertisement should encourage or imply that coded (anonymous) bank accounts can be operated in Nigeria unless permitted by law. 7. Exchange Rate Where foreign currencies are quoted, the current Naira equivalents should be indicated. 8. Competitive Advertisements Though comparative and competitive techniques are allowed, they should not be such that may run down other banking or financial institutions. 9. Promotions and Incentives (i)

No advertisement should encourage customers of other banks to switch over through competitions, lotteries and other such promotional techniques. (ii) Advertisers offering better incentives than competitors must ensure that they supply the public with all relevant facts necessary for a proper assessment of their claims. 10. Forecasts All advertisements containing any forecast or projection of a specific return or rate of return should make clear the basis upon which the forecasts or projection is made. APPENDIX VIII

RELEVANT EXCERPTS FROM THE NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO CENSORS BOARD DECREE NO. 85 OF 1993 THE FEDERAL MILITARY GOVERNMENT hereby decrees as follows:310


PART 1Establishment of the National Film and Video Censors Board

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL FILM AND VIDEO CENSORS BOARD, ETC.

(1) There is hereby established a body to be known as the National Film and Video Censors Board (in this Decree referred to as "the Board") which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

Functions of the Board

(i) (Ii) b. c. d. e.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Board (A) to license; a person to exhibit films and video works, a premises for the purpose of exhibiting films and video works. to censor films and video works; to regulate and prescribe safety precautions to be observed in licensed premises; to regulate and control cinematographic exhibitions; and to perform such other functions as are necessary or expedient for the full discharge of all or any of the functions conferred on it by this Decree. PART V- REGISTRATION OF PREMISES Film and video exhibition licence

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e)

18- (1) Subject to the provisions of this Decree no person shall exhibit a film or video work unless he is the holder of a license granted by the Board under this Decree (2) No premises shall be used for a film or video except under and in accordance with a license granted in respect of the premises under this Decree. (3) The provisions of subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall not apply toa film or video exhibition in a premises to which the public is not admitted; premises employed by the Government of the Federation, State or Local Government for cinematographic purposes; premises owned by the Government of the Federation, State or Local Government; premises which is a private dwelling house where the exhibition is not promoted for private gain; a film or video exhibition aimed at educating, instructing or promoting any business. General safety provisions

19. No premises shall be licensed for carrying of a general film or 311


video exhibition unless(a) (b) i. ii.

(c) (d) (e) (f) (g)

the premises is provided with such means of escape in case of fire, as the Federal or a State Fire Service may reasonably require, and such means of escape are maintained in good condition and free from obstruction; or where the premises forms part of a building and such part is eitherseparated from any other part of the building by fire resisting partitions (including fire-resisting ceiling and floors) and fire-resisting self-closing doors, or so constructed that a fire occurring thereon is not likely to spread to other parts of the building and its use for the purpose to which this Decree applies are sanctioned in writing by the Board and any conditions attached thereto are complied with; the premises is provided with adequate means of extinguishing fire having regard to the amount of inflammable materials in the premises; the furniture and apparatus in the premises are so arranged as to afford free egress to persons in the premises in the event of fire; the fittings are as far as is practicable of non-inflammable or fire resisting material; there is kept posted up in large characters in the premises, full instructions as to the actions to be taken in case of fire, and full directions as to the means of escape from the premises in case of fire; and the fittings of the store-room are as far as practicable of non-inflammable or fire-resisting material. Offence

(a) (B)

20. If at any premises in respect of which a license is required under this Decree a film or video is exhibited without such a license being held in respect thereof then:-

the person concerned in the organization or management of the exhibition; any other person who, knowing or having reasonable cause to suspect that such exhibition would be so provided at these premises: (i) (ii) 21.

Application for licence

allowed the premises to be used for the film or video exhibition. let the premises or otherwise made the premises available to any person by whom an offence is connected, is guilty of an offence under this Decree. An application for the grant of a license to use a licensed premises for purposes of a film or video exhibition shall be as in form I of the Second Schedule to this Decree and shall contain or be accompanied by

312


f

(a) (b)

such information, documents and other materials as the Board may, from time to time prescribe; a certificate issued by the Federal or State Fire Service stating that the premises conforms with necessary safety regulations. Issue of licence

22. (a) (b)

The Board shall on being satisfied that

an application for a license has been made in the prescribed manner and contains all the information required under section 21 of this Decree; the premises are constructed and equipped to such standards as may be prescribed; c. the applicant is capable of complying with such conditions as may be imposed or attached to the license; d. the prescribed fees have been paid; and the applicant is a fit and proper person to be granted a license, issue to such conditions as may be imposed or attached thereto a license in respect of the premises;

2.

Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the Board may-

(a) (b) Validity of licence

refuse to grant a license; or at any time modify or vary the terms, conditions and restrictions of or revoke any license already granted. 23. - (1) Unless a license is revoked under section 22 (2) of this Decree, a license shall remain in force for one year or for such shorter period as the Board may on the grant of the license determine.

(2)

A license granted to an applicant by the Board in respect of any premises shall not be transferred to another person unless such transfer is approved by the Board.

(3)

Where before the date of expiry of a license, an application has been made for the renewal or transfer of the license, the license shall be deemed to remain in force or, as the case may require, to have effect with any such necessary modifications until the determination of the application by the Board.

Cancellation or suspension of licence

24. Where the holder of a license is convicted of an offence under this Decree, the court by which he is convicted may cancel any license held by him from carrying out any film or video exhibition for such period as the court thinks fit. 313


Power of the Police and employees of the Board, etc to enter premises

(2)

(3)

(4)

25.-(1) A police officer or any officer appointed for that purpose by the Board may at any reasonable time enter any premises, whether licensed or not, in which he has reason to believe that a film or video exhibition as aforesaid is being or is about to be exhibited with a view to seeing whether the provisions of this Decree or any regulations made thereunder and the conditions of any license granted under this Decree have been complied with.

An authorized officer of the Federal or State Fire Service may, on giving not less than 24 hours notice to the holder of a license in respect of a premises enter and inspect the premises for the purpose of ensuring that there are adequate fire precautions and that the relevant provisions of this Decree, so far as they relate to fire precautions, are being complied with. Where an authorized member of the police force, the Board or the fire Service, enters any premises in the exercise of any power under this Decree, he shall, if required to do so by the occupier of a premises, produce to the occupier an authenticated formal authority to inspect. Any person who intentionally obstructs the exercise of any power conferred by this section is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of N2,500 or to imprisonment for a term of three months. PART VI- LICENSING OF DISTRIBUTORS AND EXHIBITORS, ETC.

Licensing of distributors and exhibitors

(26)- (1) As from the commencement of this Decree, no person shall carry on the business of distributing or exhibiting a film or video work, unless he is a holder of a license granted by the Board under this Decree. (2) An application for a license for the distribution or exhibition of a film or video work shall be as in Form 2 of the Second Schedule to this Decree, on the payment of the prescribed fees. (3) Subject to the provisions of this Decree, a license authorizing a person to carry on the business of distributing or exhibiting a film or video work shall be limited to the distribution of registered films or video works as the Board may approve from time to time. (4) A license granted under the provisions of this section shall specify whether the applicant is authorized to distribute both registered films and Records to bevideo works. kept by 27. A distributor or exhibitor of a film or video work shall cause to be distributor or exhibitor kept at the premises at which the film or video is delivered for 314


distribution or exhibition, a register containing among other things; (a) the title and registered length of the film or video work; (b) information regarding whether or not the film or video work is a Nigerian film or video work; (c) the classification and other details of censorship approval for the film or video work; (d) the respective dates on which or the period during which, the film or video work has been exhibited to the public at the premises, and (e) such other particulars with respect to the film or video work as may be prescribed for the purpose of identification by regulation made by the Board. Information to be 28. A distributor or an exhibitor of a film or video shall furnished by whenever requested so to do by a person authorized in that behalf distributors and exhibitors by the Board, produce to that person, such books or other documents, with respect to a film or video work, being a film or video work to which this Decree applies, as the Board may require for the purpose of the enforcement of the provisions of this Decree. Registration of a film or video work

(2). 30.(2) (3)

(1) As from the commencement of this Decree no person shall distribute or exhibit a film or video work unless it is registered with the Board. An application for the registration of a film or video work shall be as in Form 3 of the Second Schedule to this Decree. (1) There shall be kept by the Secretary to the Board a register of films and video works containing particulars in relation to each film or video work. The register shall be opened for inspection by members of the public on the payment of the prescribed fees The Board shall, on a request by any person and on payment of the prescribed fees, furnish that person with a copy of the entry in the register relating to a particular film or video work, being a copy certified to be true by the Executive Director.

Determination of a Nigerian film or video work for purposes of registration 1990 No. 1

32-

Correction of register

29. -

31. For the purposes of registration under this Decree, a film or video work shall be deemed to be a Nigerian film or video work if, and only if the producer of the film or video work was, throughout the time during which the film or video work was being made, either a Nigerian or a company registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree 1990. (1) If, any time after the registration of a film or video work, the Board, upon making any such inquiries as it thinks desirable, is satisfied that the film or video work either ought not to have 315


been registered or is incorrectly registered in any particular, the Board shall cause the necessary deletion or correction to be made in the register. (2) If the Board thinks it proper in the circumstance, the Board shall issue to the distributor or exhibitor of the film or video work, a certificate of registration to replace any such certificate previously issued in respect of the film or video work. Evidence of registration

(a) (b)

33. The registration of a film or video work may be proved by the production ofthe certificate of registration issued, and a copy of the entry in the register relating to the film or video work, being a copy certified to be true by the Secretary to the Board. PART VII- CENSORSHIP OF FILMS

Censorship Certificate

(2) (3) Exempted exhibition

(a) (b) (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (2)

34-

(1) As from the commencement of this Decree, no person shall exhibit, cause or allow to be exhibited a film without a censorship certificate issued by the Board for such exhibition.

A person in breach of the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of one year. An application for the censorship and approval of a film shall be as in Form 4 of the Second Schedule to this Decree. 35- (1) Nothing in section 34 of this Decree shall apply; to any film for exhibition in premises to which the public is not admitted; to any documentary film imported, produced or issued by or on the direction of the Federal or State Government; the Diplomatic representative of a Common Wealth or foreign country; the United Nations Organization or any organ of that organization, or any other regional or global organization; an educational, scientific or cultural body or society including any broadcasting and television organization. For the purpose of exempting a film from the provisions of section 35 of this Decree, a notice of importation of the film shall be given to the Board within 30 days of such importation for due registration of the film by the Board.

316


(3) (4) (5)

An application for exemption from censorship and approval for exhibition of the film shall be made in Forms 5 and 6 of the Second Schedule to this Decree. The Board may if it deems it fit in each circumstance arrange a viewing of such film or verify any information given to it by the applicant. Where on an application the Board is satisfied that a film is of the type to be subjected to censorship, the Board shall apply the provisions of this Decree as they relate to censorship. Establishment of Zonal Film Censors Committees

(2)

(3) (4) (5) (6)

(7)

36.

(1) For the purpose of effectively discharging its functions under this Decree, the Board shall divide the Federation into such number of operational zones as it may deem necessary.

Each zone shall have a Zonal Film Censors Committee (in this Decree referred to as "the Film Censors Committee") which shall be charged with the duty of examining the content of a film submitted to the Board and intended for public exhibition. The Film Censors Committee shall consist of at least a representative from each of the States of the Federation within the zone and such other number of persons as may be appointed by the Chairman of the Board. The Chairman of the Board shall appoint one of the members of the Film Censors Committee to preside at the meeting of the Committee. The decisions of the Censors Committee shall be by a majority vote. No person, other than members of the film Censors Committee shall be present when a film is shown for censorship purposes except the operators and such other person as may be specifically authorized by the Chairman or the Executive Director to attend. The exhibition of a film for censorship shall be carried out at the expense of an applicant.

Censorship Criteria

37-(1) The Film Censors Committee in reaching a decision on a film shall ensure that (a) (b) (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)

such a film has educational or entertainment value, apart from promoting the Nigerian culture, unity and interest; and that such film is not likelyto undermine national security; or to induce or reinforce the corruption of private or public morality; or to encourage or glorify the use of violence; or to expose the people of African heritage to ridicule or contempt; or to encourage illegal or criminal act; to encourage racial, religious or ethnic discrimination or conflict; or 317


(vii) (2) (a) (b) (c)

by its contents to be blasphemous or obscene The Film Censors Committee shall not approve a film which in its opinion depicts any matter which is:indecent, obscene or likely to be injurious to morality; or likely to incite or encourage public disorder or crime; or Undesirable in the public interest.

Decision of the film Censors Committee

(2)

The Film Censors Committee shall, not later than 30 days after its decision, notify an applicant of its decision as in form 7 of the Second Schedule to this Decree.

Revocation of film approved subject to condition

(2)

(3)

38 (1) The Film Censors Committee may in its absolute discretion approve a film unconditionally or approve a film subject to such conditions as it may impose.

39-(1) Where the Film Censors Committee has approved a film subject to any condition imposed by it, the Film Censors Committee may at any time revoke the approval if it is satisfied that such conditions have not been complied with.

The Film Censors Committee shall notify the applicant of such revocation by notice in the prescribed Form 8 of the Second Schedule to this Decree and a film in respect of which such a notice of revocation has been issued shall be deemed to be an unapproved film. A revocation under subsection (1) of this section shall be published in the Gazette and other national newspapers.

Withdrawal of a film for further censorship

Alteration, excision of a part of a film

Right of the film Censors Committee to retain an unapproved film

40 (1) The Film Censors Committee may, at any time, order the withdrawal of a film from exhibition for the purpose of further censorship if it is satisfied that such withdrawal is in the public interest. (2) A person who exhibits an unapproved film is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N10,000 or for a term of two years imprisonment. 41 (1) A film to which any matter has been added or excised after it has been approved for exhibition shall be submitted for censorship and the previous approval thereof shall be deemed null and void. (2) Any excised portion of a film shall be retained by the Film Censors Committee for as long as the film remains in Nigeria. (3) The Film Censors Committee may in its discretion, retain in its custody, any film which it has not approved for 318


exhibition until it is ready for exportation out of Nigeria or its decision is set aside on appeal. Approval, classification of a film

42 (1) Where the Film Censors Committee approves a film whether subject to condition or otherwise, the Committee shall state in the certificate issued either in full or by the use of the following symbols, that is:

(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f)

"G" to indicate for general exhibition. "C" to indicate intended particularly for children; "NC" to indicate not recommended for children; "18" to indicate for mature audiences; "RE" to indicate for restricted exhibition; and such other classification as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Board (2) A film registered by the Board shall be exhibited exactly in the form and under the name in which it was registered without any alteration or addition. Underage 43- (1) Where a film to which a restricted classification has been persons assigned is being or about to be exhibited in a registered premises and the exhibitor or a member of the police force suspects on reasonable grounds that a person who is in the registered premises is between the age of 2 years and 18 years, the exhibitor or a member of the police force may(a) require that person to leave the registered premises forthwith; and (b) where that person fails to comply with paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section use reasonable force to remove that person from the registered premises. (2) Where a film to which a restricted classification has been assigned is being, or is about to be exhibited in a registered premises, the exhibitor, an employee of the exhibitor, a member of the police force or an authorized person may (a) require a person who seeks admission to or who is in the registered premises to state his correct age; and (b)

where the exhibitor or a member of the police or an authorized person suspects that the age as stated may be incorrect he may require that person to produce satisfactory evidence of his age.

Exhibition of a film classified as *restricted exhibition

44- (1) A film classified as "for restricted exhibition" under subsection 42 (1) (e) of this Decree, shall not be exhibited in a registered premises where there is 319


(2)

Reproduction of certificate of approval to be projected

present a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. A person who contravenes subsection (1) of this section, shall be deemed to be guilty of a separate offence in respect of the each person who has attained the age of 2 years but has not attained the age of 18 years, who is present at the exhibition and liable on conviction to a fine of N1,000. 45. A person who exhibits or causes to be exhibited a film approved by the Board shall, immediately before the exhibition of such film, cause to be projected on the screen on which the picture is to be exhibited, a reproduction of the certificate of censorship approved by the Board for the film and the projection on the screen shall be clearly visible throughout the registered premises.

Offence and penalty

(2) Sample copies of posters. Etc.

Poster to be exhibited as approved sample copy

(2)

46- (1) A person who contravenes the provision of section 45 of this Decree is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000. The court by which a person is convicted under subsection (1) of this section, may in addition order the film to be forfeited to the Board. 47- (1) An application for the censorship of a film shall in addition to the film submitted be accompanied by a sample copy of the poster for advertisement of the film (2) The Film Censors Committee shall with regard to the submitted sample copy of a poster have the same powers and duties with regard to a film submitted for approval. (3) The decision of the Film Censors Committee, with regard to a submitted sample copy of a poster shall be subject to the like appeal as the Board's decisions in respect of a film submitted to the Board. 48- (1) A sample copy approved by the Film Censors Committee shall, in connection with the exhibition of a film so far as it relates to a sample copy used for the purpose of such exhibition, be exactly in the form in which the sample copy was approved and without any addition or alteration. A sample copy altered or added to shall be submitted for the approval of the Film Censor's Committee, and until the sample 320


copy as so altered or added to has again been approved by the Film Censors' Committee, it shall be deemed not to have been approved. 49- (1) A poster, photograph, sketch, slide, programme, Advertisement advertisement, written or printed matter in the nature of an advertisement with respect to a film or extract from a film where published, distributed or exhibited in a newspaper or film or otherwise shall state the classification of the film as provided under subsection (1) of section 42 of this Decree either in full or by the use of the symbols. (2)

The statement or symbols shall be clearly visible having regard to the size of the poster, photograph, sketch, and shall comply with such other requirements as may be prescribed from time to time by regulations made pursuant to this Decree by the Board.

(3)

Every poster, photography, sketch, slide, programme, advertisement, written or printed matter in the nature of an advertisement with respect to the exhibition of an approved film or extract from the film shall be registered with the Board on payment of a fee prescribed from time to time by regulations made pursuant to this Decree by the Board 50. A person who contravenes the provisions of sections Offence and penalty 47 and 48 of this Decree is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N2,000 and for any subsequent offence is liable to a fine of N3,000. 51- (1) The Chairman and Executive Director may together issue a certified copy of a film if satisfied on the face of a declaration, Issue of certified made by the person who submitted the film for censorship, that copy of a censored film the film described in the declaration is a duplicate, or identical in detail, length and in all other respects to a film which has been passed by the Board for exhibition. (2) Any person who makes a declaration under this section which is false or incorrect in any material particular is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N5,000. Appeal against the 52(1) An applicant aggrieved by a decision of the Film censors' film Censors’ committee decision Committee may appeal by giving notice as in Form 9 of the Second Schedule to this Decree, to the Board. (2) On receipt of the notice referred to in subsection (1) of this section, the Board shall within 60 days set up a committee, (in this Decree referred to as "the Review Committee") to review the grounds of appeal. Membership, 53(1) The Review Committee shall consist of the Chairman of decision of a Review committee the Board who shall act as its Chairman and such other 321


members of the Board, who are not members of the Film Censors' Committee whose decision is the subject of review. (2) (3) (4)

The Review Committee shall exceed by three the number of members of the film Censors' Committee. The Review Committee's decision shall be by a majority vote, with the Chairman having a second or casting vote in the event of an equality of votes. No decision of the Review Committee shall have effect until it is confirmed by the Board. PART VIII VIDEO WORK Exempted video work or recording

54- (1) As from the commencement of this Decree, no person shall distribute, exhibit or supply in Nigeria a video work or recording unless such work or recording is an exempted work under this Decree. (2) A video work is for the purpose of this Decree an exempted work if taken as a whole it is (a) designed to inform, educate or instruct; or (b) concerned with sports; or (c) a video game. (3) A video work shall not be classified as an exempted work for the purpose of subsection (2) of this section if, to any significant extent, it (a) depicts explicit sexual activities or acts of force or restraint associated with such activities; (b) depicts mutilation or torture of, or other acts of gross violence towards humans or animals; (c) depicts human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions; or (d) is designed to stimulate or encourage anything falling within paragraph (a) of this subsection or, in the case of anything falling within paragraph (b), it is designed to any extent to do so; (e) is religious and contravenes ethnic prejudices either by word or action. 55-Exempted (1) The supply of a video recording by a person shall be supply deemed an exempted supply if it is neither a supply for reward; nor a supply in the course or furtherance of a business. (2) Where on any premises facilities are provided in the course or furtherance of a business for supplying video recordings, the supply by 322


any person of a video recording on those premises shall be treated for the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, as a supply in the course of a furtherance of a business and therefore not exempted. (3) Where a person (in this subsection referred to as the "original supplier") supplies a video recording to a person who in the course of a business, makes video works or supplies video recordings, the supply shall be classified as an exempted supply if, it is (a) not made with a view to any further supply of that recording, or (b) so made, but is not made with a view to the eventual supply of that recording to the public or it is made with a view to the eventual supply of that recording to the original supplies; or (c) designed to provide a record of an event or occasion for those who took part in the event or occasion or are connected with those who did so; or (d) the supply to a person of a video recording containing only a work to a person who took part in the event or occasion or is connected with someone who did so; or (e) the supply of a video recording for the purpose only of the exhibition of any video work contained in the recording premises other than a dwelling house being an exhibition which in Nigeria would be an exempted exhibition within the meaning of subsection (2) of section 54 of this Decree, or (f) the supply of a video recording for the purpose only of submitting a video work contained in the recording for the issue of a classification certificate; or (g) the supply of a video recording with a view only to its use in training for educational or scientific purposes, or (h) the supply of a video recording otherwise than of reward, being a supply made for the purpose only to supplying it to a person who previously made an exempted supply of the recording. 56. There shall be established by the Board for the purpose of an Zonal video Censors application of this part of this Decree, a Zonal Video Censors Committee Committee (in the Decree referred to as "the Video Censors Committee") whose composition, function and procedure shall be similar to the Film Censors Committee established by section 38 of this Decree. Supplying video 57.of Where a video recording contains a video work in respect of recording unclassified which no classification certificate has been issued, a person who work. supplies, distributes or exhibits such a video work is guilty of an offence under this decree. Supplying video 58. recording of unclassified work in breach of classification.

Where a classification certificate issued in respect of a video work specified that no person who has not attained a specified age 324


shall be supplied with it, any person who is in breach of this specification thereby is guilty of an offence. Supplying 59. video A person who supplies or offers to supply a video recording or recording not in any spool, case, or other things on or in conformity with which conformity with regulation the recording is kept which does not satisfy any requirement imposed by regulations made pursuant to this Decree is guilty of an offence unless the supply is an exempted supply. 60. A person who supplies or offers to supply a video recording Supplying video recording containing a video work in respect of which no classification containing a false indication certificate has been issued is guilty of an offence if the video as to classification recording or any spool, case or other thing on or in which the recording is kept contains any indication that a classification certificate has been issued in respect of work unless the supply is an exempted supply. 61. A person who is guilty of an offence under sections 57, 58, 59, and Penalties 60 of this Decree is liable on conviction to a fine of N2,500 or for a term of 3 months. 62. Where an offence under this part of this Decree is committed by a Offence by bodies body corporate and the offence is proved to have been committed with corporate the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the body corporate, or a person who was purporting to act in any such capacity, he as well as the body corporate shall be guilty of the offence and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. 63(1) If a Judge or a Magistrate is satisfied by information on oath that there is reasonable ground for suspecting (a) that an offence under this part of this Decree has been or is being committed on any premises; and (b) that there is evidence that an offence has been or is being committed on any premises, he may issue a warrant under his hand authorizing any person authorized in that behalf to enter and search the premises. (2) A police officer or any other person authorized in that behalf to enter or search any premises in pursuance of a warrant under subsection (1) of this section, may use reasonable force if necessary and may seize anything found there in which he has reasonable grounds to believe may be required to be used in evidence in any proceedings for an offence under this Decree. (3) If a police officer or any other person authorized in that behalf had reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person has committed an offence under this part of this Decree, he may require him to give his name and address and, if that person refuses or fails to do so or gives a name or address which the police officer or any person authorized in 324


that behalf reasonably suspects to be false, the police officer or any other person so authorized in that behalf may arrest him without warrant. Forfeiture 64(1) Where a person is convicted of any offence under this part of this Decree, the court may order the video recording admitted in evidence shown to the satisfaction of the court to relate to the offence, to be forfeited. (2) Reference in this section to a video recording includes a reference to any spool, case or other thing on or in which the recording is kept. Interpretation to Part viii 65- (1) In this Part of this Decree, unless the context otherwise requires"Video work" means any series of visual image (with or without sound)(a) produced electronically by the use of information contained on any disc or magnetic tape; and (b) shown as a moving picture; "Video recording" means any disc or magnetic tape containing information by the use of which the whole or a part of a video work may be produced. "Supply" means supply in any manner, whether or not for reward, and includes supply by way of sale, letting or hire, exchange or loans and references to a supply shall be construed accordingly; "Premises" includes any vehicle, vessel or stall. (2) For the purpose of this Part of this Decree, a video recording contains a video work if it contains information by the use of which the whole or a part of the work may be produced; but where a video work includes any extract from another video work, that extract shall not be regarded for the purpose of this subsection as a part of that other work. PART IX MISCELLANEOUS Regulation

Repeat and savings Cap. 49 LFN

66. The Board may, with the approval of the Secretary, make regulations generally for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Decree. 67- (1) The Cinematograph Act is hereby repealed. (2)

Interpretation.

The repeal of the enactment specified in subsection (1) of this section shall not affect any action taken, anything done or purported to be done under or pursuant to that enactment. 68. In this Decree, unless the context otherwise requires. 325


"Board" means the National Film and Video Censors Board established by subsection (1) of section I of this Decree; "Chairman" means the Chairman of the Board; "Distributor" means a person for the time being engaged in the business of leasing, hiring or selling films, video works; "executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Board appointed under section 5(1) of this Decree; "Film" includes any record, however made of a sequence of visual images, which is a record capable of being used as a means of showing that sequences as a moving picture; "Member" means a member of the Board and includes the Chairman; "Picture" means a picture or other visual image exhibited or capable of being exhibited from a film or video work; "Premises" means any house, room, building, garden, shop or place where any film or video work is exhibited, leased, hired, to which admission is or may be procured by payment of money or by ticket or by other means of consideration; "Prescribed fess" means fees prescribed in this Decree or by regulations made pursuant to this Decree; "Producer" in relation to a film or video, means the person making the arrangements necessary for the production of film or video work and for the organization and direction of the scenes to be depicted in the film or video work; "Registered premises" means any premises approved for registration pursuant to this Decree; "Secretary" means the Secretary charged with responsibility for information. Citation Cap 192; LFN

69.This Decree may be cited as the National Film and Video Censors Board Decree 1993.

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Broadcasting in nigeria  

Private Broadcasting , Prospects, Challenges, Legal Aspects.

Broadcasting in nigeria  

Private Broadcasting , Prospects, Challenges, Legal Aspects.

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