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N5 million hate speech penalty: Lai Mohammed getting at opposition at all costs – Tonnie Iredia



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Nigeria’s ace broadcast journalist and Professor of Broadcast Management and Media Law, Tonnie Iredia has reacted to the hate speech review championed by by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

He said the review from N500,000 to N5,000,000 of Nigeria’s Broadcasting Code was hastily carried out without consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

Iredia in his view on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday while reacting to the controversy generated by the new fine for hate speech said the Minister has usurped the powers of the Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).

He added that Lai Mohammed belongs to a political class, hence, his deepnecked involvement in the policy would be suspected at getting at the opposition.

He queried that the NBC was no longer automomous as it ought to be, noting that the organisation has been politicised.

“If you listen to the news, who has been speaking? The Minister of Information. Is he the Director-General of the NBC?

“When the minister is speaking, there is no way broadcasters can see that the regulator is speaking. He is not a regulator. He should leave the broadcasters in the NBC to do their professional duty. The law gives him the right to supervise but not to take over the job.

“The moment the minister is speaking, no matter how well-intentioned he may be, the people become suspicious because he belongs to a political divide and whatever he says is likely to be used against the opposition and I think this is a natural thing.”

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