COMMUNIQUE OF BROADCAST STAKEHOLDERS MEETING
- March 3, 2017
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A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE BROADCAST STAKEHOLDERS MEETING HELD AT THE ABUJA SHERATON HOTEL AND TOWERS, ON WEDNESDAY 22nd FEBRUARY, 2017,
A meeting of broadcast stakeholders convened by the National Broadcasting Commission was held on Wednesday 22nd of February, 2017, at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers Abuja.
The meeting which was declared open by the Director General of the NBC,Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu had in attendance, Chairman, Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), Mr.John Momoh, Chairman Digiteam Nigeria, Engr. Edward Amana, State Commissioners of Information, State Permanent Secretaries in charge of Information, and 415 other participants made up of Broadcast Licensees, Broadcast Signal distributors, Set Top Box manufactures, Content aggregators, Content producers, media Correspondents and other stakeholders.
The Director General of the NBC, Mall. Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, in his opening remarks, disclosed that the meeting was convened to address the financial, technical and logistics challenges militating against the DSO progress and other industry issues some of which are;
- Digital SwitchOver (DSO) and meeting the deadline of June 2017. Strategizing to switch other states of the federation with a plan to switch 6 states simultaneously. (One state per geopolitical zone).
- Heavy indebtedness to the NBC - Broadcast station owners owing license fees of over N5billion.
- Working out Cost of carriage of content by the 2 signal distributors.
- Streamlining the functions of key players in the DSO and resolving conflicts and setting Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to address areas of overlap in the DSO value-chain.
- Illegal and rampant use of transmitting power by city based FM stations and resultant interference. (69 stations are booked for this infraction as at 22/2/17).
- Indiscriminate importation of Transmitters not in tandem to terms of license.
- Absence of Aviation Warning lights on masts and the safety implications
The Chairman of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON), Mr. John Momoh,in his goodwill message expressed the concerns of broadcasters over declining revenue from Adverts, the changing technology and the huge need for more quality content in the DSO. He therefore voiced out doubts about meeting the deadline but rather advised that the focus should be on rolling out. He enjoined Licenseesto pay up all outstating License fees.He,however, appealed to the NBC to review the deadline of March 15, 2017.
The Digiteam Chairman, Engr. Edward Amana, gave an illustrative overview of the DSO the Journey so Far. He observed that meeting the DSO deadline of June, 2017, depends on Funding, Synergy of stakeholders; the ability of the broadcast Signal distributors to cover 90% of designated areas, ability of STB manufactures to produce enough boxes to meet at least 90% of demand; and support of state and local governments to make the STB affordable for their people. He also informed participants that there shall be Frequency farming and re-farming to increase the free-view bouquet for DSO.
During the interactive session, participants raised the following issues;
- Broadcasters requested to be considered in the dividend from sale of spectrum to cushion the cost of Content production and other DSO Challenges.
- Participants recommended a review of the DSO business Model to ensure the success of the DSO
- That Broadcast License should be Provisional with a 5-year term.
- That due to convergence of technology, some of the hate speech on social media infiltrates into the broadcast media.
- That the sanction regime in the regulation of Hate speech and inciting Comments are relatively low.
- That broadcasters may have to pay two license fees in the DSO (to NBC & to BSD). However, the two Fees shall be slightly lower than what they currently pay as License Fee;
At the end of the meeting, it was resolved;
- That broadcasters owing license fees should pay- up on or before 15th March 2017 or have their stations shutdown.
- That Broadcast License is Provisional with 5-Year lifespan. Therefore, Licensees should apply for renewal six months before the expiration of their license as contained in the terms of License.
- That City Based FM stations shall ensure that their signals are limited to assigned areas only.
- That Stations with transmitters higher than the allotted transmission power have six months window period to procure and install 2 kilowatt transmitter and revert to the terms of their license or have them decommissioned.
- That henceforth no Licensee should install a transmitter with capacity beyond power allotted in the license schedule.
- That stations without Aviation Warning Light (AWL) on their Masts must have them installed on or before 28th of February, 2017.
- That All Stations without a functional Off-Air Recording facility must procure and install one on or before 31st of March, 2017 or face shutdown.
- That Transfer of License is prohibited.
- That 70% of Content in DSO shall be Local Content. And the collection of TV and Radio License fee would be pooled to support content production.
- That the next phase of DSO Journey shall be six states taken simultaneously, namely;
- Kaduna North-West
- Kwara North-Central
- Gombe North-East
- Enugu South-East
- Osun South-West
- Delta South-South
- That Stakeholders in the DSO value-chain should harness the digital economy to generate jobs for Nigerian Youths.
- That NBC should liaise with State and Local governments to be partners in the DSO in order to subsidize the STB for their People.
- That STB manufactures shall graduate to manufacturing Digital Compliant Television sets after the DSO.
- That Channel Sharing and other collaborative arrangements under the Digital ecosystem are being studied.
- That All Television transmission would go through a broadcast signal distributor of their choice.
- That Hate Speech and Inciting comments can endanger good order in the country, therefore,NBC shall collaborate with Center for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development and incorporate the outcome in the review of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
- That Broadcasters should strike a balance between Freedom of Speech and hate speech.
- That NBC should be firm on the issues of National Security.
- That NBC should publish research works on various issues beyond hate speech.
At the end of the meeting, The National Broadcasting Commission, acknowledged that the DSO success so far was due to the collective effort of all stakeholders namely, Digiteam Nigeria, Broadcast Signal distributors, Set-Top-Box manufactures, channel owners, partners (CCNL and Inview technologies), Call Center Operators and expressed appreciation to all participants for contributing immensely to the success of the meeting.