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FG Vows To Review Broadcasting Code …Explains Why Govt Is Breaking Monopoly In Sector

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says no amount of attacks, sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of approved recommendations on reform of broadcasting code.
The minister stated this, yesterday, at a meeting with Online Publishers in Lagos.
“Let me be straight: No amount of attacks sponsored or otherwise, will stop the implementation of the approved recommendations.
“Only non-patriots and anarchists will kick against measures aimed at putting an end to fake news and hate speech, especially in our broadcast industry.
“Only those who are guilty should be afraid of the efforts to sanitize the broadcast industry. Responsible broadcasters have nothing to fear.
“This is not a move to stifle free speech or gag anyone. But purveyors of fake news and hate speech should not expect to sleep easy,” he said.
The minister had on October 10 announced President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval of the review of National Broadcasting Code and extant broadcasting laws to reflect stiffer penalties for violators of broadcasting regulations.
Mohammed, who inaugurated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Reform Implementation Committee, added that the President also endorsed the implementation of reforms to end monopoly in the sector.
The minister, however, noted that since the inauguration of the committee, there have been attacks, many of them sponsored, from some quarters.
“As I speak, plans are ongoing to launch more coordinated attacks, with a view to truncating the implementation of the approved recommendations,” he said.
He stressed that no responsible government would sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to rule the airwaves.
The minister stressed that fake news and hate speech have the capacity to exploit the national fault lines and trigger a national conflagration.
He reiterated that the Federal Government would continue to evolve ways to tackle the menace.
The minister recalled that he launched the National Campaign Against Fake News in July, 2018, in Abuja.
“While the national campaign has succeeded in putting the issue of fake news and hate speech on the front burner of national discourse, the menace has yet to go away.
“Let me be clear: we didn’t think the issue will suddenly disappear, but we also didn’t think it will get worse, which is what it is now.
“In fact, it remains a clear and imminent danger to the polity. It is in this light that we are once again asking you to join us in pushing this campaign,” he said.
The minister enjoined the Online Publishers, to lead the campaign against fake news and hate speech, which he tagged as “the Siamese twins of evil”.
“Gentleman, we expect you to remain in the vanguard of the efforts to tackle fake news and hate speech.
“We expect you to educate our people on the efforts being made, especially by the government, in this regard.
“This administration has no intention of muzzling the media or stifling free speech.
“Our campaign is against fake news and hate speech. And we will not rest until our media space has been rid of fake news and hate speech,” he said.
The President had underscored the need to inject sanity into the nation’s broadcast industry, following the unprofessional and unethical conduct of some broadcast stations, especially before and during the last general elections.
Highlights of the terms of reference of the reform implementation committee inaugurated by the minister included upward review of fines from N500,000 to N5million for breaches relating to hate speeches, inciting comments and indecency
“Wilful repeat of infractions on three occasions after levying fine on a station to attract suspension of license
“Upgrade of breach of political comments relating to hate speeches and divisive comments to “Class A” offence in the Broadcasting Code.”
The committee is also saddled with the responsibility of amending the NBC Act to enable NBC license WebTv and radio stations, among others.
The minister also said that the Federal Government was 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 October 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.
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.

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Rivers State Government Announces Closure Of Markets

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The Rivers State Government wish to draw the attention of the general public to the following:
(1) Oginiba Slaughter Market is no longer in existence for now. Government warns that anybody who goes there for any form of business will face the full wrath of the law.
(2) Oil Mill Market has been closed down. All those using Igbo-Etche Road as an alternative illegal market are hereby warned to desist forthwith or risk destruction of their goods.
(3) Mbiama Market has been closed down. Any attempt to continue trading activities there will lead to the complete destruction of the market.
(4) Government has not approved any Goat Market along Elele/Ahoada stretch of the East-West Road.
(5) The Chairmen of Emohua and Ahoada-East Local Government Areas are hereby directed to ensure that the illegal Goat Market along Elele/Ahoada stretch of the East- West Road is shut down immediately.
Paulinus Nsirim

Commissioner for Information and Communications.

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COVID-19: Rivers State Government Launches Free Bus Scheme …To Operate From 6:30am To 7pm Daily

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Rivers State Government has launched a COVID-19 Free Bus Scheme to cushion the effect of the pandemic on citizens.

Inaugurating the Scheme in Port Harcourt today, the Commissioner for  Transport,  Mr. Sunny Ejekwu commended the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the initiative which is the first of it’s kind in the country.

Mr. Ejekwu stated that the buses will ply Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Oyigbo and Eleme Local Government Areas as a pilot scheme.

“With the launch of this scheme, you can feel the pulse of a  Governor that is concerned about the health and welfare of Rivers people.

 

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19  pandemic, Governor Wike has done so much to show his love for his people. You remember that in terms of palliatives he has spent a lot of resources besides the facilities he has put in place for the safety of the people,” he stated.

He said the 28 luxury buses will operate strictly in line with advisories on social distancing, use of hand sanitizers and wearing of face masks.

The buses, he said, will pick and drop passengers only at designated bus stops.

The commissioner added  that the buses will operate from 6:30 am  to 7 pm daily.

 

Also speaking, the  Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim, described the Free Bus Scheme as “a gift you get from a compassionate and visionary leader.”

He called on  Rivers people to appreciate the fact that Governor Wike is desirous to make sure that they do not  suffer during this period.

A cross section of  commuters expressed happiness with the initiative of Governor Wike.

Mercy  Nna  said she could not believe that government will provide such a free service.

Another commuter Emmanuel Mbang described the  initiative as very commendable and thanked Governor Wike for the gesture.

 

Recall that on May 27, 2020 the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike at Government House, Port Harcourt approved the implementation of the Free Bus Scheme.

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Rivers State Begins Decontamination Exercise

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His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike CON GSSRS POS Africa, Governor of Rivers State Launching of Rivers State Government Decontamination team for Sars-Cov2 (Covid-19) at Government House, Port Harcourt on the 1st of June 2020.

The Rivers State Government has kick started the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from  coronavirus.

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who flagged off the programme today at Government House, Port Harcourt, said with the commencement of the exercise, all public places in the state will be decontaminated.

He restated his administration’s commitment to the protection of the lives of everyone living and doing business in the state.

 

”I have always said that the lives of Rivers people and those living and doing business in the state is paramount. Part of the reason why markets are still shut is because we have not decontaminated them.

“As we decontaminate the markets, particularly the ones in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Area, traders will undertake to abide by all relevant protocols because we are talking about the lives of people.

“All public and private schools will be decontaminated before schools open. Churches and motor parks will also be decontaminated,” he stated.

The Governor reiterated that coronavirus is real and that people who denied its existence  have started believing due to the number of persons that had died.

 

He warned that government will not allow recalcitrant persons who refuse to obey government advisories to infect law abiding citizens with the virus.

“This issue of COVID- 19 is real and government will not hesitate to seal up and prosecute owners of banks, shopping malls, restaurants, shops, business places or offices that fail to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in their premises,” he said.

He urged the  Decontamination Team not to compromise standards  but to put in their best to ensure that the entire state is decontaminated.

 

In his speech, the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Bro. Felix Obuah said the Decontamination Team made up of medical and environmental experts was put in place in line with the governor’s directives to decontaminate public places in the state.

The Leader of the  Decontamination Team, Dr. Ian Abraham Gobo pledged that the team will carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.

He commended the Governor for putting Rivers people first in his fight against COVID-19,adding that the decontamination of the state will give the people a new lease of live when normal business activities resume.

 

 

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