The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has issued new conditions for GOtv to continue its operations in Nigeria.
The commission cleared the air on the reports that it had issued an ultimatum to Details Nigeria Limited over the operations of GOtv in Nigeria.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, the NBC Director-General, affirmed that the Digital Terrestrial Licence issued to Details Nigeria Limited is scheduled to expire in a few days and a notice had been issued in January 2018.
According to Kawu, the claim that NBC had plans to close down GOtv was never the commission’s intention, as several meetings are ongoing between both parties.
He said a “definitive meeting” held on Thursday, and it was resolved that the licence would be renewed for three years. Present at the meeting was General Babagana Monguno, the National Security Adviser.
“Yesterday night, we were able to use the good offices of the National Security Adviser (NSA), to break the logjam in respect of the renewal of the Digital Terrestrial Licence issued to Details Nigeria Limited for the operations of GOTV. Most of you might be aware that in January 2018, we had issued a notice that the said licence was not going to be renewed at expiration.
"That licence is actually expected to expire in a couple of days on. We took the decision not to renew the licence, because the new architecture of Nigerian Broadcasting in the digital era separates the roles of the content provider from that of the signal distributors. This is according to the government White Paper on the transition from analogue to digital broadcasting.
“Against the backdrop of the notice that we issued in January 2018, there was a lot of misinformation put out in the public space that NBC had taken a decision to close down GOTV. But that had never been our intention. We realise the place of Details Nigeria as a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian Broadcasting industry, the huge amount of investment they have made in the industry and the jobs that they have created directly and indirectly.
"But the NBC is irrevocably committed to the Digital Switchover (DSO), and the policy guideline in respect of the separation of Content Provider and Signal Distributor. That is the reason for letter to Details Nigeria Limited. But over the past couple of months, we have held several meetings with representatives of Details Nigeria Limited on the appropriate way to keep them in business in Nigeria, while we also enforce the position of government in respect of the White Paper on DSO. Finally, yesterday, we held the definitive meeting under the auspices of the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno, during which we were able to resolve the main obstacles.
“Yesterday’s meeting resolved that GOTV would have its licence renewed for a period of three years, but with certain provisos. The separation of Content Provider from Signal Distributor is non-negotiable! That means that GOTV, going forward, in the near future, will no longer combine the two functions. So in the three-year period of licensing that we are issuing, they would be expected to begin discussions with any of the two licensed Signal Distributors, Integrated Television Services (ITS) and Pinnacle Communications Limited, on the preferred platform to carry their content. These resolutions came on the back of often, difficult days of negotiations, that involved several stakeholders. As I said earlier, we want to thank the National Security Adviser for the role that he played in helping us resolve the impasse. The resolution of the issue recognized the role of investors in the broadcasting and other sectors of the Nigerian economy. And in resolving the issue, we realize the importance of investor confidence in the Nigerian economy, as well as the efforts to take Nigeria to the next level, by President Muhammadu Buhari.”
NBC also issued strict warning to broadcast media organisations in the country on covering elections, stating that anyone that flouts the regulations would face strict sanctions.