Prof. Tonnie Iredia, a former Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), has attacked the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed over the Minister’s claim that stakeholders within the broadcast sector were carried along in the amended sixth edition of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

Nigerians have been reacting angrily over the amended code which was unveiled Tuesday in Lagos by Mohammed. It among other provisions raised the fine for ‘Hate Speech’ from N500,000 to N5 million.

The former NTA boss, a professor of Broadcast Management and Media Law, accused the minister of hijacking the duties of the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), by the hasty review of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

“Now, the problem is that for the first time in the history of broadcasting in this country, the code was not done the way it used to be done. This time around, the NBC just rolled out a number of things that it felt should be in the code and did not hold consultations with the stakeholders like the previous managers of the system did where you first of all hold consultation, everybody will look at it, there will be a document, you will bring it out at the tail end, there will still be another kind of peer review and all kinds of things.

“Just as I said at the beginning, the code was supposed to be a professional guide. It was supposed to be a masterpiece that promotes professional excellence in broadcasting but now it is filled with sanctions and what you will do and not do.

“And the bodies that should have been consulted were not consulted the same way. Rather, they were being told that it is subject to review and all their objections now will be taken into consideration in the next review,” Iredia, who served as a consultant to the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) when the code was being revised, said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.

He decried a situation where Alhaji Mohammed as a minister with political bias usurped the position of the NBC Director-General, a professional, saying the minister’s intention, no matter how good, might be misconstrued,” he stated.

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