NBC directs all social media platforms and online broadcasters to apply for licence

The Nigerian government continues its onslaught against the media, this time the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) issued a new directive, asking all social media platforms and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast license.

The NBC director-general, Armstrong Idachaba, gave the directive in a newspaper advertorial published on Thursday, June 10. Idachaba said in the advertorial that the NBC establishment code empowers the commission to ask the companies to be licensed.

Section two (b) of the NBC act of 2004 states: “(1) The Commission shall have [the] responsibility of: Receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations including (i) cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.”

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The advertorial reads

“The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) hereby directs every Online Broadcast Service provider and Social Media Platforms operating within the Nigerian State to apply and obtain broadcast licence for their service(s).Note that any Online Broadcast Service Provider that fails to obtain a licence will be considered an illegal entity.”

NBC advertorial

It is not immediately clear whether the directive applies strictly to only social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest or if news websites will also be required to get a license.

This decision announcement comes barely 24 hours after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced that all Over The Top service providers like Facebook, Twitter, and other microblogging sites will have to register for a license before they can operate in Nigeria.

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Trouble began last Friday, when the Federal government suspended Twitter’s operation in Nigeria days after the site deleted a tweet from President Buhari’s handle.

Twitter’s domain remain restricted by Internet Service Providers in the country, though most Nigerians still access the site through VPNs.

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