government is now more committed to empowering the people
HE Government of Nigeria has directed the National Broadcasting Commission
(NBC) — the government agency in charge of regulating the country's
broadcast industry — to commence the issuance of licences for community
Until now, NBC was mandated to seek presidential approval before any
community radio licences could be issued.
Nigeria currently has over 350 functional broadcast stations made up 123
privately-owned radio and television stations and 227 government-owned radio
and television stations.
However, no community station has been licenced since government deregulated
the country's broadcasting sector in the early 1990s.
President Goodluck Jonathan said in Abuja at the just concluded Africast
conference that government is now more committed to empowering the people so
that they not only hear but are also be heard.
Jonathan said this desire to empower the people informed the decision of the
federal executive council to approve the guidelines for the NBC to issue
licences for community radio stations.
Said Jonathan : "The federal government has devolved to the NBC the powers
to consider and issue the licences without further recourse to the
presidency, provided such applicants have met all the conditions stipulated
by the law".
He assured that government is determined to ensure that the country keeps to
its target of 2012 for the transition from analogue to digital transmission.
Jonathan said in recognition of the fact that digitalisation of the
broadcast sector is best driven by policy, government would soon send a bill
to the National Assembly for a law that would provide the legal framework
for the transition.
The Bill, when passed into law, would deal with such issues as signals
distribution system, licensing framework, spectrum planning and broadcast
standards as well as training and any other issue that will make the
transition smooth and meaningful.-
SIMEON OGOEGBULEM in Abuja, Nigeria
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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