A former acting Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Professor Armstrong Idachaba, has said the code of the regulatory agency is mainly to protect broadcast programme consumers from harm.

In the previous week, the  President Muhammadu Buhari government came under heavy criticism lately with its review of the NBC code.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had said that the amended NBC Code included the provision raising the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

But, Idachaba called for increased dialogue between media houses, practitioners, and the commission, saying this became necessary to improve broadcasting practice in Nigeria.

According to him, the review of the NBC code every four years has always been an opportunity for negotiations and new arguments.

The former NBC boss revealed that there are about 33.5 million homes in Nigeria with access to television sets and programmes, adding that this robust television audience must be protected, even as they offer their position the nation as the “delight of every investor.”

Speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during the investiture of Victor Mark as the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Laderin/Hilltop, the Professor of Mass Communication touched on the topic, “Finding a Balance Between the Broadcast Code and Making a Commercial Radio Station Thrive in Present Nigeria.”

He urged practitioners to always disseminate the truth in a way that is fair and beneficial to all in order to build a better friendship for all.

“As you can also see, the provisions of the code are actually meant to protect society from harm. It is also intended to protect the rights of citizens to a peaceful and fair right to living in line with tenets of Rotary International.

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“Every four years there is an opportunity for the review of the broadcasting code, it has always been an opportunity for negotiations and new arguments,” he said.

Stressing the need for broadcast stations to survive, he clarified that the time allocated for advertising had been increased by the commission based on demands from operators.

Idachaba added that sporting rights and alcoholic advertising rules were also allowed for-profit, warning, however, that “profit motive must tally with core values.”

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