Nigeria: Obaigbena - With Internet, broadcast regulator NBC has lost relevance

Regulation & Policy

Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of This Day Newspaper, Nduka Obaigbena, has questioned the relevance of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as a regulator in an age where technology has created a borderless world. Obaigbena was delivering a lecture to participants at the Executive Intelligence Management Course at the Institute for Security Studies in Abuja last week. He called for the merging of the NBC with the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) because, according to him, the NBC has lost its relevance because of nature of modern news media.

The duty of NBC is to regulate and license broadcasting stations but with advent of the Internet, voice and video can be transmitted from anywhere in the world, thereby rendering NBC irrelevant. A merger with the NCC, he advised, would be more appropriate for management, including frequency and spectrum allocations.

"Technology has changed the media. I wonder what the role of the NBC is anymore since all videos and voice can be delivered online. Then what are they regulating or licensing? NBC's time is gone. What we need is merging it with the NCC so that together they can properly manage frequencies," he said.

"Because the Internet is not fully developed, it is a place for the good, the bad and even the ugly. Citizen journalism flourishes and all sorts of character and character assassination occur online and little can be done about it. If you shut down a website today, hundreds spring up the next week. So how would NBC handle this new media?" he added. Even though all sorts of information are disseminated through various websites, those which are credible and are strongest will be branded and remain reliable sources, he said.

The advent of the Internet, he said, has presented fresh challenges to the security agencies because their training and technology might not be adequate to tackle the challenges presented by the new media, "which moves at the speed of light". "Do our security agencies have the training, the technology, the budget and the wherewithal to handle this new challenge?" he queried.