By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Lagos, – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Federal Government is determined to end all forms of monopoly in broadcasting because it is detrimental to the actualization of the immense potential in the industry.
The minister stated this on Sunday at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
Mohammed recalled that he, on Oct. 10, inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee to, among others, implement reforms to end monopoly in the sector.
The committee was also mandated to implement the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A situation where a few people corner a chunk of the industry to the detriment of others, especially our teeming and talented youths, is totally unacceptable and untenable.
“Monopolies stunt growth, kill talents and discourage creativity.
“The clearest example of the creative energy that can be unleashed when monopoly is totally broken can be seen in the telecommunications industry.
The minister added: “Of course, the broadcast industry has also been liberalised. But any vestige of monopoly is antithetical to the liberalisation of the broadcast industry and must be dismantled.
“In the case of Nigeria, it’s the monopoly of content that breeds anti-competition practices.
“You cannot use your financial or whatever power to corner and hold on tight to a chunk of the market, preventing others from having access.
“Such monopolies are crumbling everywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be left out.
NAN reports that with the implementation of the committee’s mandate, television viewers, especially lovers of sports may witness an end to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the live airing of high-profile sporting events.
High-profile sporting events, especially for well-loved sports, particularly soccer, are currently only available to subscribers of DSTV.
Specifically, DSTV has the monopoly on live airing of English Premier League and UEFA Champions League in Nigeria.
A reliable source in the ministry told NAN that the era of liberalisation is, therefore, expected to witness the sporting events being accessible to other pay-TVs and free to air platforms in the country.
It will be recalled that Independent Communications Authority Of South Africa (ICASA) had taken similar step by unveiling Draft Sports Broadcasting Services Amendment Regulations 2018.
The bill is aim at making big sporting events accessible for free to all citizens of South Africa.