News Analysis, Nigeria News Agency
Can the social media space be regulated in a way that gives young people the opportunity to release positive energy into society without stifling their voices? Experts say it is possible.
Young people constitute the majority of those who use the space of social networks to interact, empower themselves and self-realize.
They have taken advantage of advances in information and communication technology as a means of communication. Among the leading social networks in Nigeria are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
While young people may have limited political power to advocate for their views, they can harness the potential of social media to promote peace in Nigeria.
Although social networks have their own negative aspects, they also have numerous advantages, such as facilitating access to mentoring, socializing, and creativity.
Through its network mechanisms, social networks spread news faster and have a broader reach than conventional media.
Encourage group participation in discussions and activities on the platform to drive critical information and nurture ideas.
Young people can take advantage of this unique social environment to spread positive atmospheres such as peace and nation building.
While many young people have used social media to create wealth, education, and obtain information and entertainment, many have used it to propagate violent behavior and other social vices.
Experts say the federal government has a role to play in reorienting the culture and orientation of youth social networks from the negative to the positive through proper regulation.
The government is aware of this, as evidenced by Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
In June 2021, while appearing before a public hearing organized by representatives, Mohammed called on lawmakers to amend the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) law to empower the agency to regulate online and social media.
The minister said: "Internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have a responsibility to monitor content, including Twitter."
Similarly, in June, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) also announced a draft document for the Code of Practice for Internet Intermediary/Interactive Computer Service Platforms and Conditions for Operating in Nigeria.
The code seeks, among many others, to compel online platforms to provide any supporting information to assist government agencies in investigating and prosecuting users who violate the code's provisions.
Reinforcing these thoughts, Dr. Bakut Bakut, Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, IPCR, said: "Preventing tomorrow's conflict means changing the mindset of today's youth."
Bakut, who said this while delivering a welcome speech at a conference in Abuja recently, said that young people could be redirected to use social media as a tool for peacebuilding.
According to him, young people use social networks more frequently and are more likely to become victims of violence and can also be recruited by extremists.
The two-day conference, which was organized in collaboration with the Center for Peace and Strategic Studies of the University of Ilorin, CPSS, had as its theme "Youth, social networks and community peacebuilding".
“This is an important issue because technology can be a means by which terrorists recruit young people or a means by which young men and women can help build peace.
"Although young people are crucial actors in peacebuilding, they have been excluded from the process and instead are seen as 'manipulated' tools for violent conflict and social unrest," he said.
Bakut recalled the October 2020 #EndSARS protest, which was organized by largely youth users against police brutality.
He said it showed that social media was dangerously out of control and a breeding ground for fake news, hate speech, misinformation and incitement to online riots, hence the need to regulate it.
He said the conference offered opportunities for new ideas to gain youth support for community peacebuilding initiatives and the incorporation of social media, especially given current insecurity concerns in Nigeria.
Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, while corroborating Bakut's view, said that regulating social media would curb online abuse and engage young people to promote peace.
Speaking on the topic, "Use of social media and its implications in building community peace among young Nigerians," he said that regulating social media was the best way to ensure that young people use social media in a positive.
Represented by Prof. AL Azeez, Dean of the Faculty of Mass Communication at the University of Ilorin, Sulyman said that social networks must be regulated if the recklessness of young people in the use of social network space is drastically reduced.
“How can we get young people to use the media in a positive way; empower oneself and, at the same time, deploy it for the construction of peace? The best way is to regulate the social media space.
“Regulation and control of the social media space for reasons of humanity, peace and security are ostensibly plausible, as such justifications have been invoked in Pakistan, Malaysia and India.
"This is why many communication and peace scholars have stepped up their support and agitation for a legal framework to regulate Nigeria's social media space through the Social Media Act," he said.
The former vice chancellor said that social media platforms should be used to facilitate virtual dialogues between stakeholders to achieve peace and security.
“The use and adoption of social networks by young people should aim to promote peaceful coexistence among various ethnic groups.
“Through social media, Nigerian youth must build a strong consensus on the issues that affect their lives and well-being.
"No significant socioeconomic and human development can take place in a nation where its youth are concerned about sharing divisive and inciting rhetoric on social media," the don said.
Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), stressed the need to directly involve youth in peacebuilding.
“One of the ways that we can push these kinds of conversations forward in a concrete way, in the future, would be to invite young people to be part of this kind of discussion,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian policy document defines a youth as someone between the ages of 15 and 30, which means that he is in custody and not yet self-employed.
“However, I will expand that definition to mean that youth is a social category, so a youth is whoever a particular person says they are, regardless of their age.
“So if you have an awareness of being young or old, that is who you are. There are people who are 40 years old but already feel old, so let it be with them that they are old, ”he said.
Prof. Oyeronke Olademo, Director, Center for Peace and Strategic Studies. University of Ilorin, urged adults to use social media platforms to counter negative narratives about youth and the country.
“For me, curbing the excesses of young people on social media and redirecting them to peacebuilding requires older people to flood cyberspace with positive narratives.
"This will overwhelm any negative narratives or fake news that young people might spread on these platforms," he said.
Experts say that while it is important to regulate the social media space, caution must be exercised in doing so to avoid muzzling the media, infringing on freedom of expression and fundamental human rights. (Characteristic)
**I used the writer's credit and the Nigerian News Agency.
Source Credit: NAN
Governors of the Northwest and their counterpart in Niger Republic call for a review of the ECOWAS Article on movement of persons and arms to tackle the lingering security challenges in the region.
This is contained in a communique read on Tuesday by the Secretary of Katsina State Government (SSG), Alhaji Muntari Lawal at the end of a multilateral security meeting held in the state.
The meeting had in attendance, Gov. Schiabou Aboubacar of Maradi Region, as the convener, governors of Katsina, Sokoto, and also the Deputy governors of Zamfara and Kebbi.
“In the light of the bilateral arrangement on pursuit of criminals up to 30km by security agents across each other’s border between Nigeria and Niger Republic, the meeting recommends appropriate review of the ECOWAS Article on movement of persons and arms.
“Considering the significance of the role of traditional rulers, security management, the meeting recommends periodic meeting of selected traditional rulers from the affected states to share information and exchange ideas on security management,” he said.
Lawal said the meeting noted that substantial proportion of the citizens of these states partake in animal husbandry or rearing as vacation for their livelihood.
He added that overtime however, this trade has been infiltrated by criminal elements leading to the menace of cattle rustling, armed banditry, kidnapping for ransom and proliferation of small arms, light weapons and ammunition.
The Katsina SSG said that after extensive deliberations, observations, the meeting supported the operation ‘Hadarin Daji’, being conducted by the Military, covers Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi.
“There is therefore the need for Defence Headquarters clearance to these sectors to meet and develop unified strategies to combat the common security challenges bedeviling the areas.
the meeting further recommends the need for stakeholders meeting involving all the heads of Security Agencies in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States and Maradi and Tahoua regions to be hosted by the Headquarters of operation Hadarin Daji and facilitated by the governors of the affected states.
“The meeting also recommends that in the the event of an express directive for a clearance operation, once it is started, it should be coordinated by land and air, and should not stop until it reaches its final point.
“For efficient and credible intelligence information dissemination and security management inclusiveness, the affected state governments are recommended to see to the establishment of emergency call centres and community based structures.
” He added that relatedly, synergy and cooperation between contiguous local governments should also be enhanced in order to further facilitate intelligence sharing.
Lawal said the meeting want all emergency centres across the participating states and Maradi Region interconnected for broader intelligence sharing.
“The meeting also noted and frowned at the manner some media practitioners render information or news items to the general public, which invariably portray bandits and other criminals as heroes,” he said.
He said that consequently, the meeting recommends that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should appraise the situation and reverse the trend, for the good of the people and the Nation.
“The meeting noted the overwhelming challenges being faced by security agencies and strongly appealed to the Nigerian and National Government of Niger Republic to deploy more resources to the security agencies manning this affected corridor.
“In order to ensure sustained and simultaneous operations accros the states, there is the need to provide adequate and sustained logistics like petrol, oil, labour, spare parts and rations; “The meeting noted the rampant use of high powered motorcycle such as Boxer’ by the bandits and strongly recommends the need to ban the importation of such motorcycle for a period of 24 months.
“The meeting further noted the negative perception of some people on military operations of this nature, and recommends the need to educate the general public on the inevitability of collateral damage.
“The need is also recommended for continuous improvement of synergy between the Customs and Immigrations establishments of the affected four states and Maradi Region,” he said.
The SSG further said there is the need to enhance collaborative efforts between both countries, Nigeria and Niger Republic to reduce arms and drug trafficking to the barest minimum.
He explained that for an all inclusive effect, there is the need to include Kaduna and Niger States in any planned operation, since they share common forest with the affected states.
“The meeting unanimously resolved on the need for it to be held on rotational basis quarterly, and the next meeting agreed to hold in Zamfara State.
“Operational Secretariat of the meeting has been resolved to be temporarily domiciled at Katsina, Katsina State for the purposes of implementation, monitoring and evaluation of .
“The meeting then stressed the need for continued prayers by all and sundry for the Almighty Creator’s intercession to bring final succor to our people and the Nations of Niger and Nigeria,” he said.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on Monday urged broadcasters to uphold ethics of the profession and all legal provisions guiding broadcasting nationally and internationally, as political campaigns begins on Sept. 28.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, made the call at a sensitisation forum on political broadcasting with the theme,” Towards a Fair and Responsible Broadcast Coverage of the 2023 General Elections: A Multi Stakeholders Dialogue, held in Abuja.
Ilelah also urged broadcasters and anchors of political programmes to guide their platforms well and ensure that guests abide by the broadcasting code.
He explained that the objective of broadcasting was for the promotion of national unity, participatory democracy, political awareness and inculcation of spirit of tolerance of divergent views and opinions in people.
The NBC boss, therefore, enjoined broadcasters to give equal access and opportunities to all political players, registered political parties and candidates.
” This is in addition to ensuring equity in airtime allocation and coverage of political parties’ activities particularly during prime times.
It is also the time for you to make money from Political Adverts and Campaigns but ensure that this is done within the ambit of Law. ” Broadcasters are also required to handle live political rallies with care and due professionalism.
This is in addition to studio-based live political .
Because of the sensitivities of such programs, broadcasters are advised to install delay mechanism.
” Remember that broadcast stations are held responsible for any breach.
The stations shall therefore, assume and accept editorial responsibility.
I also use this opportunity to remind broadcasters not to allow any form of hate speech, fake news, derogatory or divisive remarks and any incendiary broadcast on their platforms.
” Ilelah said broadcaster was not allowed to deny any group access to airtime, adding that any form of denial of access was prohibited.
” However, if your political content is indecent and hateful, then a station is allowed to turn it down and give reasons why it cannot be taken.
” The Commission also uses this opportunity to tell Nigerians that they can complain to the NBC if content on any station annoys their sensibilities or sensitivity.
” Just call or email us at [email protected]
ngIn your complaint you should provide the following: •the name of Station, •Title of Programme, •Time and Date of Broadcast and •Essence of the complaint.
•Please remember to add your name and Telephone so that we can reach you for redress.
” Similarly, the NBC boss called on broadcasters to ensure that every partisan political broadcast was recorded off transmission and preserved for 150 days after broadcast.
” You are also required to stop the broadcast of any partisan political Programme, 24 hours to the polling day.
On election days, the broadcaster is to relay election results or winners only as announced by the authorized electoral officer.
” As broadcasters you are expected to offer your platforms for the exchange of ideas, comments and constructive criticisms for the development of democratic culture.
” Anchors are advised to manage their political guests well and do not allow them to malign others especially those not present on the programme.
This is in the spirit of fairness, because such people do not have the opportunity to defend themselves at that time.
” On his part, the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the media play a critical role in ensuring a more effective public enlightenment on the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 in particular and other aspects of the electoral process in general.
Yakubu said political parties, candidates and their supporters as well as the media have a responsibility to operate within the confines of the law and the provisions of the commission’s rules and regulations.
He noted that issue-based campaign was essential for safe electioneering, adding that it would create the atmosphere for the successful deployment and conduct of all electoral activities.
He also said that campaigns should be devoid of hate speech; abusive, intemperate or slanderous language; insinuations or innuendoes likely to provoke violent reaction; physical attack on supporters of one party by another or destruction of campaign materials.
” Specifically, Section 95 of the Electoral Act 2022 defines the responsibilities of political parties and candidates, the media and public institutions.
It also provides sanctions for violations.
” For instance, in the course of our numerous interactions with political parties over the years, many have complained about the denial of access to public facilities for meetings and rallies, exorbitant charges for signages and billboards, and equal access to State media.
” Using the power of incumbency to deny opposition parties access to public facilities is illegal.
Section 95 (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) are unambiguous and worth quoting verbatim as follows: 95(2) the advantage “State apparatus or disadvantage including of the any media political shall party not be or employed candidate to at any election.
“95(3) media time shall be allocated equally among the political parties and candidates at similar hours of the day.
”95(4) “At any public electronic media, equal airtime shall be allotted to all political parties or candidates during prime times at similar hours each day, subject to the payment of appropriate fees.
” 95(5) at any public print media, equal coverage and visibility shall be allotted to all political parties.
”7. Failure to comply with the provisions of the law attracts sanctions against both the media organisation and its principal officers as clearly provided for in Section 95(6).
President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted veteran broadcaster and former Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Malam Danladi Bako, on his 65th birthday.
In a congratulatory message by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, on Sunday in Abuja, Buhari felicitated the journalist who contributed to ”the dynamism of media in Nigeria, especially on development.
” The president rejoiced with Bako for a rewarding and memorable time as broadcaster, scholar, administrator and public servant.
He lauded him for deploying his talent to create programmes that inspire and integrate, like the Morning Ride on NTA, which gave opportunity for many to advocate, counsel and ventilate.
Buhari also commended Bako for guiding many to see journalism as a career for continuous mind renewal, an adventure into unraveling the unknown, and telling the truth that encourages peace and harmony.
The president noted the discipline, diligence and focus of the broadcaster, and his penchant for research and rigorous study.
He equally commended Bako’s large- heartedness and ability to discover many talents as a scriptwriter, director and producer, with many of his prodigies playing leading roles in the movie industry, Nollywood.
Buhari prayed for good health, strength and more wisdom for Bako, who is also an expert in development communication, and his family to keep serving the country.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has temporarily suspended the shutdown of the indebted broadcast stations across the country.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, made the disclosure in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NBC, had on Aug. 19 revoked the licences of the Power FM (DAAR Communication L.
, Silverbird TV Network and 50 other stations over N2.6 billion debts.
The commission ordered the affected stations to shutdown in the next 24 hours and directed NBC offices nationwide to collaborate with the security agencies to ensure immediate compliance.
Consequently, the commission, on Aug. 20, extended the period which all outstanding debts are to be paid from 24 hours to Wednesday.
It explained that the extension of the enforcement date was due to an appeal by the affected broadcast stations, relevant stakeholders, public spirited individuals and organisations.
However, the NBC boss said following the ultimatum, the commission received positive responses from the debtor licensees, including big players in the broadcast industry.
” Sequel to a follow-up meeting held with Executives of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), and other critical Stakeholders in the industry.
” The commission has decided to temporarily suspend the shutdown of the indebted broadcast stations all over the country.
” We express our profound appreciation to the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, the affected licensees and broadcast Stakeholders for their responses and interventions.
” We specifically thank DAAR Communications Ltd., and Silverbird FM for their responses, ” Ilelah said.
He said that the commission was not unaware of the difficulties the shutdown would have caused the operators and other stakeholders.
The D-G stated that the commission would always operate within the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. N11, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), has extended the period which all outstanding debts are to be paid from 24 hours to Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2022.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, made the disclosure in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NBC, had on Friday revoked the licenses of the Power FM (DAAR Communication L.
, Silverbird TV Network and 50 other stations over N2.6 billion debts.
The commission ordered the affected stations to shutdown in the next 24 hours and directed NBC offices nationwide to collaborate with the security agencies to ensure immediate compliance.
Ilelah, however, said that the extension of the enforcement date was due to an appeal by the affected broadcast stations, relevant stakeholders, public spirited individuals and organisations.
” This is to inform all the affected broadcast stations whose licenses were revoked and given 24 hours to pay all outstanding license fees that NBC has extended the period which all outstanding debts are to be paid from 24 hours to Wednesday Aug. 23. ” All affected broadcast stations who fail to defray their debts on or before Aug. 23, 2022, are directed to shutdown by 12a.
m. on Aug. 24, 2022,” the DG said.
The General Manager, Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Terrence Ekise, says efforts are underway to renew the operational licences of the station. Ekise made the statement on Saturday while reacting to the recent revocation of operational licences by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). He said in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria that the management of Radio Bayelsa was working to pay outstanding renewal fees. The general manager said that the station had paid about N13 million out of the N17 million it owed the NBC. ”We are surprised that in spite of ongoing efforts at clearing the backlog of debt, the station was listed among those affected,” he said. Ekise said that the radio station had a good working relationship with the former management of NBC concerning the issue of licence renewal. ”We made remarkable progress paying our debt. A grace period was given during the outbreak of COVID-19. So far we have done well and shouldn’t have been listed,” he said. He said that the station was currently grappling with the challenge of rebuilding and re-equipping of its office complex. It would be recalled that the NBC on Friday revoked the licences of no fewer than 50 broadcast stations, including Radio Bayelsa over non-renewal of operational licences. The NBC, which ordered the closure of the affected broadcast stations after 24 hours, said they were collectively owing about N2.6 billion. NAN reports that Radio Bayelsa and Rhythm 94.7 FM, two radio stations affected by the NBC directive, are yet to shut down operations. NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA) has urged the Federal Government to reciprocate the media patriotic effort by extending a hand of friendship to ensure measures toward addressing national security.
The group made the appeal in a statement issued by its Acting Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Yelwa, in Sokoto on Saturday, against the backdrop of the N5 million fine slammed on some media houses by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
They called on the NBC to rescind the decision in order to open opportunities for nurturing cooperation and synergy between the media and government.
“The programme in question is globally adjudged to be balanced, fair and ethical, even though the NBC deemed it to have glorified banditry and breached national security.
“Whereas it’s not the intention of NBMOA to join issues with the NBC, we humbly wish to state that any objective review of the programme would acknowledge the depth, ingenuity, patriotism and professionalism of its producers.
“Security challenges currently confronting the nation require a new thinking and strategy.
This, we believe, was what the producers of the programme attempted to do,” it said.
The statement added that NBMOA was convinced that at this point of the state of national affair, the media must not shy away from discussing knotty national issues frankly, sincerely and comprehensively.
“NBMOA believes that the many positive takeaways from the programme, if property harnessed by all concerned, would go along way in aiding our understanding of the ecosystem of banditry in Nigeria,” it said.
Metrodigital Limited, a pay television company, has lauded the Federal Government for ending the monopoly of cable television rights by major pay television companies, including DSTV in Nigeria.
The company’s Managing Director, Dr Ifeanyi Nwafor, gave the commendation at a news conference in Port Harcourt on Friday.
Nwafor said federal the government’s decision to outlaw monopoly of television rights would promote competition, reduce prices of subscriptions and create jobs for thousands of people in the country.
“So, we are delighted, considering that in the past the market of broadcasting was foreclosed, as premium contents were bought on exclusivity basis.
“The exclusivity made bouquets without premium contents unattractive as well as difficult for local cable television stations to compete in the local market.
“News channels such as CNN, premium sporting events like the English Premier League, Champions League and others were acquired exclusively to the exclusion of other operators in the industry,” he said.
Nwafor said the monopoly of the industry led to closure of television companies such as Daar Sat, Trend TV, Consat, FSTV, among others, as they could not cope with unhealthy business practices in the industry.
He said the United States with a population of 350 million people had over 400 pay television companies, whereas Nigeria with 200 million citizens had only one or two.
According to him the practice has made Nigeria the highest subscription paying country for pay television in the world, as local operators who lack the muscle are stifled to death.
“Realising the danger, the Federal Government outlawed exclusivity in the acquisition of content, warehousing, whereby contents were acquired without use to prevent others from using them.
“To to this end, government made it mandatory for broadcasters to sublicense content to other operators at a commercially agreeable price,” he said.
The managing director said the position of the federal government was captured in Code 6 and 9 editions of the nation’s broadcasting code.
He said shortly after the legal provisions were announced, Metrodigital Limited applied to Multichoice, owners of DSTV, to sublicense channels to it, but the application was turned down.
According to him, the company, thereafter, applied to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to seek redress on the matter but NBC couldn’t address the dispute.
“Consequently, we approached the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt to address the trade dispute but lost.
“After we lost, we appealed the judgment of the lower court at the Appeal Court sitting in Port Harcourt which delivered judgment on June 13 in favour of Metrodigital Limited.
“The court also set aside the judgment of the lower court, and ordered NBC to commence the process of settling the dispute within 21 days,” he added.
Nwafor further thanked the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for his resilience to stop monopoly in the broadcast industry, to ensure Nigerians pay less for television subscriptions.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a N5 million sanction, each, on Multichoice Nigeria L.
, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite L.
, (TSTV and NTA- Startimes L.
, for the carriage of the documentary by the BBC Africa Eye titled, “bandits Warlords of Zamfara.
” The Director-General of the commission, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the documentary glorified the activities of bandits and undermines National Security in the country.
Ilelah also said that the Trust-TV Network L.
, was also fined N5 million for its documentary titled: “Nigeria’s Banditary-The inside story.
” ” While appreciating the need of educating, informing, and enlightening the public on issues bordering on developments and happenings within and outside the country, the commission wishes to seize this opportunity to advise broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s National security.
” Consequently, the airing and carriage of these documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Sixth edition, especially, the underlisted Sections: ” 3.1.1: no broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime.
lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.
” The D-G said that broadcaster should not transmit a programme that incites or likely to incite to violence among the populace, causing mass panic, political and social upheaval, security breach and general social disorder.
” Section 3.11.2 of the code said that the broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a manner depicting that law and order are socially superior to, or more desirable than crime or anarchy.
”” He explained that the imposed penalties on affected broadcast media platforms and station was to be remitted not later than Aug. 30, 2022. He warned that failure to comply with that would lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Nigerian Broadcasting Code. The NBC boss, therefore, enjoined broadcasters to be instruments of national unity and desist from falling into antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorize subversive elements and their activities.
” Every broadcast station or platform is responsible for the content it transmits or transmitted on its platform, and shall be held liable for any content in violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”