SENATE COMMITTEE VISIT
The Senate Committee on Information and Media has assured the National Broadcasting Commission of its support on regulatory and other challenges faced by the Commission.
The Committee, led by its Chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe gave the assurance when it visited the Commission as part of its oversight function.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in his remarks stated that section 88 and 89 of the 1999 constitution gave the committee the oversight responsibility to find out how organizations like the NBC are faring in terms of funding and other challenges.
While briefing the team in his welcome remarks, the Director-General, Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa pointed out that lack of adequate office accommodation has been a major challenge for the Commission as he stressed that the sensitive nature of broadcast regulation, required a conducive environment. He also stressed that the Rule of law vs. force would make the regulator do its work effectively.
The Director General also pointed out the need for appropriate wages commensurate to the demands of monitoring broadcast activities by staff of the Commission.
Engr. Yomi Bolarinwa further highlighted that the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting which is a major challenge for the NBC can only be achievable through timely action in terms of enabling law and Government backing as the project is policy driven.
On the issue of content monitoring on Television and Radio raised by the committee members, the Director General assured the committee that the NBC will take a critical look at musicals and films that are on-going and ensure that appropriate steps are taken.
‘‘He also added that a request will be made to stations for pilot production to be pre-viewed by the NBC before any video goes on air’’.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in his response thanked the DG NBC for the warm reception and explicit presentation made to the committee on the role of the Commission and the progress recorded. He stated that they were aware that the NBC was operating under difficult times and commended the hard work of the Commission under the able leadership of the DG.
On the issue of the office buildings in the zones under construction, he said the committee will find time to visit and inspect them.
Senator Odunsi a member of the committee in his remarks told the DG he has observed that the Right of reply in the NBC code has not been fully utilised by broadcast stations. He then urged the Commission to demand that stations should always give room for all political parties in the country to make statements via their air-waves.
He urged the Director General to ensure strict adherence by stations to the Right of reply and advised that stations owned by state Governments be more responsive.
Senator Smart Adeyemi who is also a member of the Committee, stated that he would like the NBC act to be amended in order to make it more effective so that broadcast stations all over the country can be properly policed by the Commission.
On the issue of appropriate salary structure, Senator Adeyemi advised that all media organizations and stakeholders should come together and champion a new salary scale for the broadcast industry.
A copy of the report sent to the Federal Government on the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting was presented by the DG to Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe.