President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the issuance of operating licences to 213 new public and private broadcasting outfits in the country.
Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Ishaq Modibbo-Kawu disclosed this on Tuesday in Port Harcourt at the opening of the 71st General Assembly of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON).
Giving the breakdown, Modibbo-Kawu said that the president approved 147 new FM radio licences; 23 DTT Television licences, three new national radio network licences and two national television licences.
He said the commission had also received presidential approval for 16 campus radio stations; 24 community broadcasters and three public organisations FM licences.
The Director-General said that the total of 213 licences were the single largest number of stations ever licensed at any point in Nigerian broadcasting history.
He reiterated the importance of BON as the umbrella body for all the broadcasting outfits in the country.
“Our industry is opening up and the importance of broadcasting will become greater as a contributor to the economic fortunes.
“It is also a platform of molding the values of national development,” he said.
The NBC boss raised concerns over the spiking of hate and dangerous speech, that was freely broadcast on leading television networks.
He said the NBC commissioned a major study of Hate and Dangerous Speech in Nigerian broadcasting, using the 2015 general elections as a case study.
“The Validation Report from that study has been presented in Kano; Enugu and Sokoto.
“We will similarly present the report very soon in Lagos and at a big national gathering of broadcasters and other national institutions in Abuja.
“The NBC has also gathered a lot of experience from elections in Anambra; Ekiti and Osun states,” he said.
Modibbo Kawu cautioned that as the country entered the season of heightened political activities, en route the 2019 general elections, NBC would not hesitate to sanction erring stations.
“For us at the NBC, we cannot be responsible for the statements that politicians make.
“It is important to remind the broadcasting outfits in BON, that you would be liable for any violations of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code by the politicians that you broadcast live during political rallies.
“So, it is your responsibility, not just to collect those huge sums politicians are willing to pay; but you must make them remember the liability you carry for decency in what comes out on radio and television.