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Stake Holders
Media Policy Briefing: Vol 3

TThe Secretariat/Coordinator
Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC)
c/o Institute for Media and Society
3, Emina Crescent,
Off Toyin Street,
P.O.Box 16181
Ikeja, Lagos,Nigeria.
Phone: +234 1- 8102261;
+234 803 307 9828;




The desire of government to put in place a policy instrument for the broadcasting sector is a welcome development. In almost eighty years since broadcasting was introduced into Nigeria, there have been many policy processes involving diverse institutions. Several documents have emerged – in the form of white papers, laws, constitutions and policies – to define the positions of government at different periods.

Some of such documents compounded the problems they were meant to solve. Some others got overtaken by events and were on their way to the museum shortly after they were released. Some got stalled in the processing mills. Yet some others were not implemented, and the challenges that caused their existence remained. But we must note that several have been produced and implemented, giving birth to some of the dividends Nigerians now enjoy.

The Nigeria Community Radio Coalition sees in this new effort an opportunity to design a document which will strengthen broadcasting to help engage the huge development challenges of our country; which contents will reflect the needs of Nigerians as well as international standards and best practices; and which will be speedily adopted, passed into the public domain and implemented.

It is with every sense of humility that we submit the following recommendations into the proposed broadcasting policy document.



a. The policy should recognize a three sub-sector structure in broadcasting comprising the public, commercial and community sub sectors.

b. It should further recognize the difference between decentralized state broadcasting (the establishment of state/government-owned broadcasting stations in communities) and genuine community broadcasting, which is the establishment and management of broadcasting stations by communities for the purpose of their own development.

c. There should be fair distribution of broadcasting stations between urban centres/political capitals and rural/grassroot areas; between government/public and independent/private stations; and between geo-political zones.


a. There shall be three ownership categories:

- Public (represented by a public corporation)
- Commercial (represented by a limited liability company or a public limited company)
- Community (represented by a not-for-profit organization)

b. political parties shall be ineligible for ownership

c. ownership by religious organization shall be treated on a case-by-case basis.

d. a person of body shall have controlling shares in not more than one radio and one TV station. Having controlling shares simultaneously in a print and broadcast medium should be prohibited.


a. The regulatory body should have full licencing powers, that is, from the point of receiving application to that of issuing licence approval.

b. The licencing process should be open, involving a public hearing. Renewal should follow this process.

c. It should have a defined time limit – not more than three months.

d. Applicants denied licences should receive official explanation.

e. There should be an Appeals process – unsuccessful applicants should be able to exercise a right of appeal to an administrative body (a higher level within the regulatory body) or a judicial body (the court of law).

f. There should be three categories of licences
Content Licence
Signal Distribution Licence
Signal and Content Licence
This ensures that a broadcaster has options: to produce only content or to combine it with distribution.

g. Licence for community broadcasters should be free, without prejudice to reasonable processing levies.

a. there should be a regulated quota of programmes on development issues in all sub-sectors of broadcasting.

b. programming on broadcasting stations should reflect public interest and tastes. Broadcasting organizations should produce programmes based on scientific audience research.

c. use of indigenous language should have a quota on all sub-sectors of broadcasting.

d. specialized training programme on content production should be designed and implemented.

e. a programme of support to independent producers should be established.

f. news and current affairs programmes should not be commercialized.

g. fair access for political parties on broadcast channels should be promoted and enforced

h. local content quota on broadcasting channels should be set by the regulator (with industry consultation) and enforced


The Regulator

a. There should be a converged regulatory body whose terms of reference will cover both broadcasting and telecommunication.
b. The functions of this body should cover the whole gamut of regulation, to include final power to approve licences.
c. The body should be independent i.e insulated in law from interference from government, political parties, commercial and other interests.
d. The appointment process of members into its governing board and that of its chief executive should be transparent and involve contributions from the interest/social constituencies that they represent.
e. They shall be appointed by the National Assembly.
f. They shall have well-defined, secured tenures and conditions of service. Removal on account of misconduct before term expiration shall follow due process, including a public enquiry, and approved by the National Assembly.
g. Members of political parties and security agencies shall be ineligible to sit on the board of the regulatory body.
h. The Regulator should report to Parliament (National Assembly).

Public Broadcasters
a. State/Govt broadcasting organizations at federal and state levels should be transformed into public broadcasters.
b. They will be guaranteed management and editorial independence and be subject to better public oversight
c. Their governing boards and chief executives shall be appointed through a transparent process which will involve constituencies they represent
d. They should be appointed by the National Assembly or appropriate State Assemblies.
e. They should also have well-defined, secured tenure and conditions of service. Their removal before term completion shall follow public enquiry and be approved by the appropriate legislature.
f. Political party members should not be eligible to sit on these boards.
g. These broadcasting organizations should be removed from the civil service structure so that can do realistic administration consistent with their status as public broadcasters.

Commercial Broadcastersa.

Should have appropriate governance structures which accommodates transparent and professional business practices.

Community Broadcasters

a. The board and management of community broadcasting stations should be composed of community members.
b. Governance and management should be accountable, transparent and responsive, based on efficient practices and appropriate tools
c. They should be registered as legal “not-for-profit”, non-governmental entities with ownership primarily drawn from people and organizations in the locality to be served.
d. They should serve communities in rural, sub-urban and urban grassroots.


a. Hiring of personnel for broadcasting organizations should fairly respect the diversity of the population of the coverage area.
b. There should be equitable gender representation in the staff and management of broadcasting stations.


a. There should be continuous research on technology so that equipment procurement and utilization move in consonance with international best practices.
b. The government should actively encourage and promote local expertise in the production of broadcasting equipment.
c. The regulator should have a frequency plan which ensures sufficient frequencies are available for broadcasting.
d. Allocation of frequencies available for broadcasting should be equitably shared between its three sub-sectors (public, commercial and community).
e. Management of the spectrum freed up by the switch to digital broadcasting should be reserved for the future development of community broadcasting
f. The country should adopt any particular digital broadcasting technology standards (DAB, IBOC, DRM etc) only after critical studies are conducted, inclusive consultations done and a realistic country position taken.
g. There should be no switch-off time-table for FM or AM sound broadcasting services until there is proven and viable digital replacement technology.


a. The regulatory body should generate its funding from
- government subventions directly from a dedicated fund (budget) from the National Assembly.
- Proceeds from radio/TV set ownership fees
- Grants – from various sources.

b. Public broadcasters (NTA, FRCN, VON, and the state-level ones) should derive their funding from:
- government subvention from a dedicated fund (budget) from the National Assembly or the appropriate State Assemblies.
- proceeds from radio/TV set ownership fees
- grants
- limited advertisements/sponsorships – proportion to be regulated by the regulatory body, in consultation with industry stakeholders.

c. Commercial broadcasters should derive their funding from
- advertisement/sponsorships
- other commercial activities

d. Community (plus campus) broadcasters to derive their funding from:
- community contributions
- grants
- spot announcements
- limited advertisements/sponsorships – to be regulated by the regulatory body, in consultation with stakeholders.
- An independent Community Broadcasting Trust Fund

e. The percentage of fees and levies charged by the NBC on the annual income of broadcasting stations (which is currently fixed at 2.5 per cent) should be abolished.

f. There should be created a Broadcasting Development Fund from which independent producers can source funding.


a. Without prejudice to the need to give space to innovation in intellectual development, broadcast training should be standardized. The regulatory body in conjunction with the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and other stakeholders should produce a standard curriculum for broadcast training and this should be reviewed every five years.
b. The regulatory body should (or collaborate with other institutions to) conduct crucial research e.g. audience survey, content analysis on the performance of the country’s broadcasting stations at least once in two years.
c. Broadcasting research consortia should be established/encouraged to grow and commissioned to conduct studies on emerging broadcasting issues.
d. Broadcasting policy research specialization at Masters and Doctorate level should be created in higher institutions and support provided for candidates/students by government.
e. There should be appropriate equipment/infrastructure support for higher institutions offering broadcasting courses. For example, such institutions should be supported to establish campus radio stations.
f. Academics and other industry practitioners should be supported to write books and other publications on broadcasting
g. Some model training centres should be set up to take care of some specialized broadcasting training e.g. training on community broadcasting, etc.
h. Guidelines should be produced for broadcasting stations for in-house training of personnel.
i. Cross-regional, bilateral (international) training initiatives should be organized for broadcasting personnel, to run on regular basis.
j. Compliance with professional standards should be enforced through self- regulatory and statutory regulatory mechanisms.

a. the following laws should be repealed:
1. Sections 50 to 52 of the Criminal Code – which deals with Sedition.
2. Sections 373 to 379 of the Criminal Code – which deals with Criminal Defamation
3. Section 416 of the Penal Code (northern states) which also deals with Sedition
4. Section 391 to 395 of the Penal Code – also deals with Criminal Defamation.
5. The Official Secrets Acts – which makes provisions for keeping public records away from the public
6. Paragraph 1(b) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution – which vests local government authorities with the power to collect fees for ownership of television and radio sets

b. the following laws should be amended:
1. Section 39(2) of the 1999 Constitution – which vests the power to authorize private licences in the President. The amendment should transfer this power to the regulatory body.
2. The National Broadcasting Commission Act 38 of 1992 and its subsidiary, the NBC (Amendment) Act 55 of 1999 – to establish a converged (broadcasting with telecommunications) and independent regulatory body able to perform the full gamut of regulatory functions, including approval/authorization of licences.
3. The News Agency of Nigeria Act – to remove its monopoly in the distribution of foreign news, among other issues.
4. The BPE Law (Private Enterprise/Commercialization and Privatization) Act – to remove NTA and FRCN from its list of enterprises listed for commercialization.

c. laws which enhance the practice of media work should be enacted

1. The Freedom of Information Bill – to be passed into law

d. International instruments to which Nigeria has subscribed should be observed and domesticated in local (Nigerian) law. These include:

1. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
2. Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
3. Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights
4. The African Charter on Broadcasting
5. The Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa

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