The Federal government has disclosed that it will soon license online radio and television in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure in Abuja when he received members of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
The Special Assistant to Mohammed, Segun Adeyemi, in a statement made available to our correspondent, said the minister’s disclosure was in response to a request by BON members who had during the visit, called for the review of the Broadcasting Code.
Mohammed, however, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved wide-ranging reforms in the broadcasting industry amongst which was the licensing of online radio and television.
Mohammed said: “I just want to use this opportunity to inform you that Mr. President has actually already approved a review of the Broadcast Code that is going to take care of many of the issues you have already raised here.
“In particular, the president has approved that WebTVs and radio stations, including foreign broadcasters beaming signals into Nigeria, will be licensed because we must bring sanity into this industry. Mr. President has also approved a wide range of reforms in the industry which at the appropriate platform, I will let you know,” Mohammed said.
While assuring that the members of BON will be carried along in the review of the Broadcasting Code, the minister reiterated the commitment of the Buhari administration to free media.
“I have said it on many platforms that this administration is not about to gag the press. No! But we will appeal to the press to please self-regulate for the sake of this country and also for the sake of the industry itself,” Mohammed added.
Mohammed also urged BON members to partner the government in the promotion of peaceful co-existence and cohesion.
He said the partnership between BON and the government would engender progress and national development.
“Today, if anybody listens to what is being said on some radio or television stations, you will think that this country is at war or that Christians actually cannot live with Muslims or that there is a dichotomy between the North and the South. I think we need to appeal to you to use your platforms for the unity and cohesion of the country,” Mohammed further said.
Also speaking, the acting Chairman of BON, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa, said Mohammed’s re-appointment was well deserved.
He noted that the minister brought life and great innovation to the broadcast industry during the first tenure of the Buhari administration.
He, however, assured that BON would key into the government’s agenda, especially the fight against fake news in the country.