Labaran Maku: Time to regulate the social media space


By Abang Mercy

The task of regulating broadcasting in Nigeria dates back tweenty years ago with a mandate to licensee, monitor, regulatee and conducting research of broadcasting in Nigeria.

To this end, the NBC Friday August 24th marks her 20th anniversary celebration in Abuja with a call by the Nigeria’s Information Minister Labaran Maku to ensure that social media platforms are controlled for national interest.

The information Minsters argument stems from a point of cultural preservation as it is observed that an analysis of the cultural flow between countries shows how serious the imbalance is.

According to (McBride, 1980), The media in developing societies take a high percentage of their cultural and entertainment content from a few developed countries, and chiefly from a few large producers in those countries.”

Mr. Maku insists that ways to regulate the new media platforms will enable the Journalism profession to achieve success as other notable professions like law and medecine; he says if they’re  no regulations, it will be difficult to know the boundaries.

“Regulation is to ensure that we develop so the industry is not endangered, we should defend our national interest , if we do not do it, we open our doors to practises that are inimical to our citizens, to protect ourselves from cultural invasion’’ the minister stated.

Some of the questions on the minds of many includes; how can each of the nations’ diverse cultures be assured of preservation, promotion and protection in a free social media system? how can Nigeria’s indigenous cultures be preserved against the onslaught of foreign cultures in a privatised and commercialised media system?

According to the Minister, Professionals are expected to discuss best practises through the freedom of information bill and that must be done with responsibility;  the minister expressed fears concerning the increasing, alarming text messages circulated as the practise might endanger the Journalism practise if not regulated.

“Social media are a tremendious opportunities of goodness, we must study the areas that the community must do but not to control it, We cannot perform our duties without responsibility,  we must ensure our country develops’’ says the Minister.

The Information Minister Congratulated the Management of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for maintaining standards and integrity in the discharge of activities by ensuring that all sides of the nation is covered without bias.

“Even in the height of the last elections, theNBC worked to ensure a free atmosphere for all political parties to air their views’’. He however cautioned the broadcast media practitioners never to allow personal interest to override that of the Nigerian nation as the nation belongs to every Nigerian as those in government will not be there forever.

The NBC 20th anniversary celebration brought together broadcasters, from private to government owned mediums in Nigeria and the commission unveiled new broadcasting codes.

Before the NBC was set up years ago, the industry was only government controlled but today, they’re numerous private broadcast stations in the thirty six states and the Federal capital territory.

Part of the commission’s duties include receiving, processing and considering applications for the ownership of radio and television stations including cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting; recommending applications through the minister to the President for the grant of radio and television licenses and; establishing and disseminating a national broadcasting code and setting standards with regards to the contents and quality of materials for broadcast (NBC, Decree, 1992).

Article first published on http://citizensplatform.net/?p=10373

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