The federal government has raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

Punch reports that the government has also mandated broadcast stations to devote plenty of airtime to public education on emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the unveiling of the Reviewed Broadcasting code, Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said the amendments were necessitated by a presidential directive in the wake of the 2019 general elections.

The minister disclosed that the recommendations were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as a way of repositioning the NBC to better perform its regulatory role in the areas of political broadcasting, local content, coverage of emergencies, advertising and anti-competitive behaviour.

Mohammed explained that section 2h of the NBC Act empowers the commission to establish and disseminate a National Broadcasting Code.

There are many desirable provisions in the new Broadcasting Code:

“The provisions on Exclusivity and Monopoly will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves. It will encourage Open Access to premium content."

The federal government has been battling with hate speech and fake news on social media platforms.

The national assembly has also been working on legislation that will criminalise deliberate misinformation on social media platforms.