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6th NBC Code: Knee on The Neck Dorka Yowika

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6th NBC Code: Knee on The Neck Dorka Yowika

Understandably, conversations around the regulatory framework recently released by NBC the National Broadcasting Commission have mostly revolved around three issues.

First is the desire of the commission to regulate exclusivity of broadcast content and actually outlaw such. Second is to make content sharing, including those created/developed by a broadcaster, with direct competitors mandatory.

Third, bizarrely, is the commission’s wish for the power to make the call on what price a prospective sub-licensee should pay the broadcast rights holder in the event of a dispute.

The rights holder, the amended code also says, must abide by the decision of the NBC, aiming to be a pseudo-socialist agency in a free market space, whether or not it makes business sense.

It requires no great knowledge of the industry to understand that exclusive broadcast rights holders and investors, local and foreign, in creative content will not be jumping for joy. The disgust of prominent figures in this category has been loudly expressed.

But beyond exclusivity, the 6th NBC Code, in my humble view, contains provisions with more far-reaching implications for the wider society, especially as they affect basic rights to information and public input into media content creation, the latter a key ingredient for plurality. Somehow, these implications have been drowned in the din generated by the eminently justifiable discontent about the clauses on exclusivity.

Without proper attention to other provisions not dealing with exclusivity, we would be handing the NBC a license to piss all over us while telling us it is raining. How?

The Duck Test can guide us. “If it swims like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck,” the test recommends.

A careful perusal of the Code shows that it contains items that have the appearance of abridgement of basic rights. Section 5.6.1, which deals with unconventional reportage, for instance, warns against the broadcast of user-generated content (UGC) that may “embarrass individuals, organizations, government …….”  Whichever way you slice it, this section fizzes with the desire to curtail the input of Nigerians to media content and the diversity that such input brings to bear on information dissemination.

The inclusion of government among those that should be shielded from embarrassment is particularly dangerous one, as it seeks to intimidate the media into silence. It equally seeks to encourage individuals, organizations and public officials to avoid the responsibility of accountability.

The provision offers government officials refuge under the canopy of “being embarrassed” and is evidently conceived to undermine the obligation imposed on the media by Section 22 of the Constitution to monitor governance and hold government accountable.

Not embarrassing individuals, organizations or government when they are found to have acted reprehensibly cannot be deemed a legitimate objective of the media. Doing so may, indeed, be necessary and desirable.

Different media organizations, including broadcasters, have different policies on the handling of UGC content. Some may broadcast such materials and simply identify them as UGC, while others would themselves verify the information contained in the UGC before broadcasting such.

In other cases, media organizations would identify the materials as UGC and warn their audiences that information contained in such is yet to be independently verified. To impose restriction on any material that falls within the UGC category because it embarrasses an individual, organization or government can, in no way, be appropriate.

Equally dangerous is Section 5.6.5, which seeks to compel a broadcaster to identify the source of UGC. To my mind, this is inflected with a wish to erode the privileges conferred on the media to protect sources that wish to be anonymous and violates Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), The referenced section of the FoIA states: “A public institution may deny an application for information that is subject to the following privileges (a)   Legal Practitioner-client privilege (b)   Health Workers-client privilege (c)   Journalism-confidentiality privileges and (d)   Any other professional privileges conferred by an Act.”

In Section 11.5.4, which addresses national emergencies, the Code also contains hidden barbs. The section states: “The Broadcaster shall, at times of national emergency, comply with any decryption or encryption order from the Commission.” Failure to do this, the section states, a broadcaster shall be subjected to heavy fines. This is a violation of the right to media independence and freedom and has the capacity to further undermine the right of the media to protect sources.

Similarly, Section 2.127.2, which addresses web and online broadcasting, has the look of a media gag law, as it gives arbitrary powers to the NBC to, among other things, shut down a broadcaster’s operations for violation of the section without an avenue for redress. How the drafters of the Code arrived at this, given that Nigeria is a democracy, is a mystery. The provision is one that seeks to elevate the NBC to the status of a body with quasi-judicial powers.

Crucially too, the Code depicts the NBC as a body high on the fumes of its own self-importance, as it seeks to usurp the functions of other agencies of government, especially the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).  Section 3.18.2(e), which deals with royalties on artistic works, constitutes a clear usurpation of the functions and powers of the NCC.

It requires broadcasters to ensure that payment of royalties for all artistic and musical works is done promptly. On a simple reading, this requirement appears to be reasonable, but it is potentially problematic.  Since not all artistic and musical works are legally entitled to the payment of royalties, this section could trigger unnecessary agitation for payment of royalties, even by purported authors or creators of artistic and musical works that may not be legally entitled to the payment of royalties.

More offensive is Section 3.18.3 (d), which deems a broadcaster’s non-payment of license fee and failure to obtain clearance prior to use of an artistic work as a Class B offence “without prejudice to the right owner’s right to lodge a report with the Nigerian Copyright Commission for prosecution as well seek civil remedies where applicable”.

Aside the inelegance of the language in which it is couched, the provision is problematic because the Nigerian Copyright Act has dealt with the same issue comprehensively by creating an offence and prescribing appropriate sanctions or punishment. Creating yet another offence through the NBC Code will amount to a violation of a fundamental human right principle: The right not to be tried or punished twice for the same offence. Put differently, the protection against the use by the state of multiple forms of prosecution, which is the rule of double jeopardy.

 

The NBC comes across as being drunk on its own importance and seeks to suffocate the broadcast industry and many other areas over which it has no control.

 

Yowika, a public affairs analyst, writes from Port Harcourt

 

 

I am Paschal Ogechi Obi Chikero . I have written and published three books , I wrote Festus Keyamo's biography- Lion In Isolation .I have been a Reality TV show Producer/Creator, an Actor and Film Script Writer.

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Dangote still Africa’s Most Admired Brand for 5 Consecutive Years

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Dangote still Africa’s Most Admired Brand for 5 Consecutive Years

The Pan-African and fully integrated conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has again emerged as the most Admired Brand in Africa for the year 2022, for its leadership position in driving quality brands across the continent.

Dangote won awards in 8 different categories, on Wednesday at the venue of the award presentation organised by a renowned organisation Brand Africa in Lagos. The other awards include: Most Admired Nigerian Brand, West Africa’s Most Admired Brand that symbolises African Pride; West Africa’s Most Admired African Brand, and Most Admired Nigerian Brand in Africa, among others.

Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, stated that Dangote has remained a stalwart global African brand and symbolises African pride. He added that Dangote has also moved up a rank in the Top 100 most admired brands and retains its #1 Made-in-Nigeria brand rank.
INDUSTRIAL GROWTH: DANGOTE TASKS STATES ON INVESTMENTS ENABLERS

Ikalafeng, giving an insight into the process of selecting the winners, said the rankings are based on a pan-African survey covering over 25 countries, which collectively account for an estimated over 85% of Africa’s population and 85% of the continent’s GDP.

According to him, “the research is conducted by GeoPoll, the world’s leading mobile surveying platform, with strategic analyses, insights and ranking conducted by Kantar, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company and Brand Leadership Group, Africa’s foremost branding, strategic communications and intellectual property advisory firm.”

In a recent issue of the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands rankings, Dangote and MTN retained their statuses as the most admired African brands recalled spontaneously and when prompted, respectively.

Group Chief Commercial Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Rabiu Umar, who received the awards, commended Brand Africa for the initiative of building and promoting African brands. He expressed appreciation to the organisers and urged them not to relent in their efforts to see that brands from Africa compete favorably with foreign ones.

Umar said that Dangote has risen a notch higher as a global brand with the export of Dangote Fertiliser to many countries of the world. “People now identify with the brand and in all the countries where we operate, Dangote Cement has become a reference point,” he added.

Umar said, “To the management of DIL, the ranking was not unexpected, because the company has a long-standing reputation for quality, relevance, compliance and social stewardship. Our mission and vision engage and inspire us; and by extension connects us to both our internal and external stakeholders.

“We fervently believe that only Africans can develop Africa, and this gives us stronger sense of relevance in all the countries where we have our operations. We are touching lives by providing their basic needs and empowering Africans more than ever before, creating jobs, reducing capital flight, and helping government to conserve foreign exchange drain by supporting different industrial and infrastructural projects of African governments.”

Established in 2011, the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands rankings are the most authoritative survey and analysis on brands and underlying businesses in Africa, based on a study by Geopoll across 29 countries spanning all the five economic regions.

An analysis of the data over the past 10 years, has established that on average, slightly over 20% of the brands admired by Africans are made in Africa.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:

 L-R, Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman Brand Africa;  Rabiu Umar, Group Chief Commercial Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, and Karin du Chenne, Chief Growth Officer, Kantar EMEA, at the Presentation of Most Admired Brand That Symbolises Africa Pride in Africaand Seven other awards won byDangote Industries Limited at 2022 Africa’s Best Brands Awards, in Lagos on Wednesday 

 

 L-R, Thebe Ikalafeng,Founder and Chairman, Brand Africa; Tosin Adefeko, Chief Executive Officer, AT3 Resources; Rabiu Umar,Group Chief Commercial Officer, Dangote Industries Limited and Karin du Chenne, Chief Growth Officer,Kantar EMEA, at the Presentation of Most Admired Brand That SymbolisesAfrica Pride in Africa and Seven other awards won by Dangote Industries Limited at 2022 Africa’s Best Brands Awards, in Lagos on Wednesday 

DSC 0481: L-R, Thebe Ikalafeng, Founder and Chairman Brand Africa; Feyi Olubodun, Managing Partner Open Squares Africa; Tosin Adefeko, Chief Executive Officer, AT3 Resources;  Rabiu Umar, Group Chief Commercial Officer, Dangote Industries Limited and Karin du Chenne, Chief Growth Officer, Kantar EMEA at the Presentation of Most Admired Brand That SymbolisesAfrica Pride in Africa and Seven other awards won by Dangote Industries Limited at 2022 Africa’s Best Brands Awards, in Lagos on Wednesday

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INDUSTRIAL GROWTH: DANGOTE TASKS STATES ON INVESTMENTS ENABLERS

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Dangote, only Nigerian on Bloomberg’s top Billionaires’ lists…Fortune increases to $17.8bn

President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has challenged state governments to consider as topmost priority, the provision of enabling environment for investments as a potent means of attracting private sector operators to their state for investments.

The business mogul who was speaking on the sideline during the recently concluded Nasarawa economic summit in Lafia, said there is no state in Nigeria that is not blessed with resources which could serve as potential for industrial growth.

What the states should do, according to him, is to look inward and put in place economic policies that guarantee environment that would be conducive for investments in the available resources in the states.

“When states provide enabling environment, it will incentivize the private sector to invest and it will be a win-win situation for both the state and the private sector”, he explained.

Dangote recalled how the enabling environment in Lagos had motivated private sector operators to move into the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos to establish companies which is now adding value not only to the economy of the state but also to Nigeria in general.

In the same vein, he stated that such is the enabling environment situation in Nasarawa that made his Dangote Sugar Plc to invest multi-million dollar sugar business in the state.

Dangote reiterated his position earlier while speaking during the opening of the summit that various economic policies including the land reform put in place by the Nasarawa state government were necessary requirements to a state that is committed to promote enabling socio-economic development, as well as improve the quality of lives of their citizenry.

Dangote commended the state governor Engr. Abdulahi Sule for providing the necessary enablers for the investment summit to achieve its goals. Such enablers, he said include, providing committed and focused leadership and well thought out institutional framework that enables the creation of sustainable conducive business and investment climate.

Dangote equally pointed out that it was not enough developing credible, comprehensive plan that identifies investment opportunities and projects but backing these up with supportive public policies and regulations that make these investment opportunities competitive.

“Here is the good news, I can say with confidence that Nasarawa State has in place all the three requirements that promises to guarantee the attainment of the goals of this summit.

“First, I can say, with all humility, that the state has the leadership with the vision and commitment to achieve it,” he said, while describing the Nasarawa governor, Engr. Abdulahi Sule as one of the visionary leaders that made the success of the Dangote Group possible.

“As the GMD then of Dangote Sugar Plc, he has proven this by positioning Dangote Sugar in the top tier of stock in the Nigerian Stock Exchange as the leading sugar company in Nigeria and also Africa,” Dangote stated.

Also speaking, former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, in his keynote address shared some key thoughts on how Nasarawa State can proceed, with the benefit of hindsight, with its investment plan and implementation milestones.

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Dangote Cement grosses N413.2bn revenue in the first 3 months

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Dangote Cement’s commitment

In the first three months of the 2022 financial year, Dangote Cement has recorded a 24.2 percent increase in its revenue and an 18 percent increase in its profit after tax for the same period.

Unaudited results for three months ended 31st March 2022, showed revenue of N413.2 billion and a profit after tax of₦105.9 billion.

 

Analysis of the cement giant’s three months results indicated that Dangote Cement sold a total volume of 7.2Mt of cement across the group with Nigerian operations accounting for 4.8Mt while the rest of Africa did the balance of 2.4Mt.

 

Chief Executive Officer, Dangote Cement, Michel Puchercos, in his comments, said that the company started the first quarter on a positive note despite the new uncertainties brought by a very volatile global environment. He stated that increases recorded in revenue and profitability drove strong cash generation across the Group. Profit after Tax rose to ₦105.9 billion, up 18 percent compared to last year while Group EBITDA rose to  ₦211.0 billion, by 18.6 percent with an EBITDA margin of 51.1 percent.

 

Puchercos said, “On the operational side, we are ramping up production at our Okpella plant and are progressing well to deploy grinding plants in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Demand remained strong across all markets, and we remain confident that Dangote Cement is positioned to meet customers’ expectations despite these temporary challenges.

 

Continuing our efforts to deliver shareholder value, Dangote Cement completed the second tranche of its buyback programme. Following the completion of both tranches, Dangote Cement has now bought back 0.98% of its shares outstanding. This share buy-back programme reflects the Company’s commitment in finding opportunities beyond dividend to return cash to shareholders.”

 

Puchercos added, “the volatile international context is strengthening our efforts to ramp up the usage of alternative fuels and execution of our export-to-import strategy. Reducing our dependence on imported inputs and making our markets self-sufficient has never been more relevant from a regional perspective.

 

Our continuous focus on efficiency, meeting strong market demand and maintaining our costs leadership drives our ability to consistently deliver superior profitability and value to all shareholders.”

 

Dangote Cement is Africa’s leading cement producer with nearly 51.6Mta capacity across Africa. A fully integrated quarry-to-customer producer, it has a production capacity of 35.25Mta in its home market, Nigeria. The Obajana plant in Kogi State, Nigeria, is the largest in Africa with 16.25Mta of capacity across five lines; Ibese plant in Ogun State has four cement lines with a combined installed capacity of 12Mta while Gboko plant in Benue state has 4Mta; and  Okpella plant in Edo state has 3Mta.

 

Through recent investments, Dangote Cement has eliminated Nigeria’s dependence on imported cement and has transformed the nation into an exporter of cement serving neighbouring countries.

 

 

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