The Nigerian Government has increased the penalty for hate speech in the country from N500,000 to N5m.
The announcement was made in a statement by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Tuesday.
Quoting the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, during the unveiling of the Reviewed Broadcasting Code, the statement said the development followed a Presidential directive on the regulatory role of the National Broadcasting Commission as well as the conduct of the various broadcast stations before, during and after elections.
The minister said, “There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code.
“The provisions on exclusivity and monopoly will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content.
“The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content.
“The law on registration of Web Broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us as a nation. Such harms could be in the area of security, protection for minors, protection of human dignity, economic fraud, privacy etc.
“The provision on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.
“The provision raising the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.”