Jason Njoku, Chief Executive Officer, IrokoTV, has called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to clear ambiguities in the new National Broadcasting Code by holding a broader stakeholder engagement to discuss the contentious parts of the Code.
Njoku made the call on Monday at a webinar organised by a law firm, Aluko and Oyebode, themed “Amendments to the 6th Edition of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code” where he was a panellist.
He said his efforts to get the NBC to provide a basis for engagement were rebuffed, as the Commission neither acknowledged nor replied a letter he wrote to the acting Director-General, Armstrong Idachaba.
According to Njoku, he wrote to the NBC with the aim of bringing about “an inclusive and robust regulatory framework that recognizes creativity, rewards creativity and provides an enabling environment for investment and growth.”
The letter, he said, also questioned the legality of the code with regards to copyright laws and international treaties as well as the legality regarding restriction of parties’ rights to freely contract by the NBC.
The IrokoTV boss accused the NBC of freezing out the biggest investors in Nigerian content production such as his own firm, AfricaMagic and Filmhouse from the process that gave rise to the code.
He expressed disappointment that the NBC accused IrokoTV of inciting stakeholders against it and described the accusation as false, as he stayed away from the controversy after his initial reaction when the Code was released.
In a series of tweets after the webinar, Njoku expatiated on this.
“After I originally shared my concerns here plus on my blog, I largely remained silent. Focused on lawyers, lobbying and broader understanding from the main commercial players @Netflixnaija, @Fimhousecinema, @Filmoneng in Nigeria, Professor Idachaba decided to target @irokotv as a monopolist starting 100% inaccurate and easily verifiable/claims against us,” he tweeted.
Idachaba had stated during the webinar that a lot of people were happy about the amendment to the code and that Njoku had been attacking the NBC unfairly.
Other panellists included Baba Agba, National Secretary, Association of Movie Producers (AMP) Nigeria; Mayowa Ayilara, CEO, Musical Copyright Association of Nigeria; and Nnadi Obanya, sports broadcaster and media enterprise consultant.