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Friday, October 30, 2015

Battle against 'I am Jazz': Nigerian parents vs DSTV



Features@ITRealms:

Preamble:
FOR some days now, there has been a message making its round on WhatsApp among other social media plants, reports DigitalSENSE Business News. The message urged Nigerian parents to protest the planned broadcasting of a Transgender themed soap opera for children starting October 27, 2015 by the DSTV Nigeria within the nation’s airwave. 

The protest:
The protesters also told DigitalSENSE Business News that DSTV has been airing an advert for “I am Jazz on their TLC Channel 172 which is set to start showing on DSTV in Nigeria October 27.” According to protesters, the problem is that it is a reality TV series about Jazz, a transgender kid; an 11 year old boy who has “transitioned” into a girl.  They argued that this programme is not appropriate viewing for any youth in Nigeria; let along the young children. Therefore, the progenitors of the protest solicited support of all well-meaning adults and parents in Nigeria to stand up to be counted in order not to destroy the moral fibre of the nation. 

“Please let’s stand up to protect our children and the moral fibre of this country,” part of the message read. In addition, they protesters urged Nigerians to join the campaign against DSTV on TLC channel 172 by sending an email to the National Broadcasting Commission at info@nbc.gov.ng, and complain on their website http://nbc.gov.ng. As well, they urged that this message be sent to all sympathizers’ contacts, insisting that parents must do their part to protect the children. 

Nigerian parents kicked ….
This advice was well received as an average adult chatted in the course of this story, said they have received in excess of estimated five (5) per 10 Nigerian adults. Reacting to this protest, a clergy, Rev. Fr. Taiwo Emmanuel told DigitalSENSE Business News that the challenge with this protest against DSTV is that subscribers have parental control facility to block any channels or category of content they do not want to view. 

For another respondent, known as Mazi, yes, the clergy is right but the real question is how many viewers and parents particularly, have the knowledge and capability to manipulate this blocking mechanism called ‘parental control.’ 

This position, Mazi makes it imperative to have DSTV stopped from the source. 

Mazi’s position was corroborated by Madam Rose, who declared “… Honestly, I can’t even put on or turn off the TV in our house. I don’t know how to operate it but my little grandson knows!” Yet, another respondent, Chuks Dominic, who agreed with the clergy, that the issue of parents living up to the expectation is a big issue which must be addressed only by parents themselves. 

“Yes the protest is fundamental but have we also done our bits by going beyond monthly subscription of these services merely because we want to belong? I think we also owe it as service to God and man to do the needful by taking time off to learn how to put on the parental control in the devices we buy for our households,” he said, arguing that with the ongoing digital migration in broadcasting industry globally including Nigeria, “We have no choice. The ball seems to be in the parents’ court.” 

Also reacting, Mr. Chris Uruakpa argued that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) must continue to safeguard the Nigerian airwaves and ensure the rights of citizens to quality broadcasting. “The NBC must properly regulate the industry for the good of the society,” Chris Uruakpa declared. 

Parental Control Measures:
Noteworthy is that recently, a sister regulatory organization, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) released a research report on Parental Control measures for mobile telecommunications networks, which showed that over the past twenty years, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have changed the ways in which young people interact with and participate in the world around them. 

The increase of Internet access points, mobile technology and the growing array of Internet-enabled devices combined with the immense resources to be found in cyberspace provide children and young people with unprecedented opportunities to learn, share and communicate. 

DigitalSENSE Business News gathered that the benefits of ICTs which include the prevalence of Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) also known as pay TV, among other things, include broader access to social services, educational resources and health information. 

Reputational damage at stake:
Also, NCC measurement identified ICTs as helpful to protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse since children and families use the Internet and mobile phones to seek information and assistance, and to report violence. 

DigitalSENSE Business News further reports that despite the profound benefits of the ICTs to children and young people, even so they are susceptible to a number of risks through using ICTs. Children could be exposed to inappropriate content for their age, including contacts with potential perpetrators of sexual abuse. They can suffer reputational damage associated with publishing sensitive personal information online without fully comprehending the implications of their long term digital footprint. 

DSTV under investigation by NBC over transgender channel:
The broadcast regulator in Nigeria, the National Broadcast Commission (NBC) has commenced investigation of the allegations leveled against the DSTV Nigeria plan to air TLC channel 172 suspected to promote transgender programme, reports DigitalSENSE Business News. 

Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Awwalu Salihu confirmed this to DigitalSENSE Business News, saying that their attention has been drawn to the concern shown by some members of the public about alleged plans by the TLC channel on the DSTV to begin airing a programme, I am Jazz, the story of a transgender child. 

He also said that the Commission has since drawn the attention of the service provider to this concern and has received firm assurances that they will investigate, and if they confirm that the programme is indeed promoting undesirable ideas that would offend the Nigerian public, they would pull the plug on the programme. 

The National Broadcasting Commission, he said, further assured Nigerians that as the regulator of the industry it will continue to safeguard Nigerian airwaves and ensure the peoples’ right to quality broadcasting. 

NBC in a press statement made available to DigitalSENSE Business News he also said the Commission commended the concerned citizens that raised the matter for their constructive approach to the issue, stating that it is always ready to receive complaints from the public, and invited people to use the complaint facilities provided on the website of the commission, www.nbc.gov.ng, to report any unprofessional or harmful broadcast, which would help the Commission to properly regulate the industry for the good of society. 

The winner is … Nigerians:
Just a few hours after NBC announcement on the investigations, protesting Nigerian parents seem to have won the battle of ‘morals’ as the MultiChoice Nigeria has pulled down ‘I am Jazz’ expected to start airing tomorrow on DSTV, reports DigitalSENSE Business News.
The Public Relations and Talent Lead at MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. Efosa Aiyevbomwan confirmed to DigitalSENSE Business News that they are aware of the concerns raised by viewers across various platforms, about the airing of “I am Jazz”, the story of a transgender child scheduled to show on TLC, Channel 172 on 27 October 2015.
Aiyevbomwan also said that based on these concerns, they at MultiChoice Nigeria, decided to pull off the schedule on ‘I am Jazz’ due to show on TLC 172.”After careful consideration and wide consultation from various stakeholders, MultiChoice informs its esteemed subscribers that the mini-series, “I am Jazz” has been pulled off the schedule.”
Equally, Aiyevbomwan said in a press statement made available to DigitalSENSE Business News on this matter that MultiChoice regularly assess the impact content have on customers and reassured them that their interests are always considered.
MultiChoice, however, pointed out that its decoders are encrypted with the parental control feature that empowers parents with ultimate control over what their children view. “We also encourage parents to make use of this feature as much as possible to ensure that their children only watch what their parents deem appropriate,” he submitted. 

Conclusion:
In the overall, the protest came in handy and as Nigerians click glasses over the pulling down of ‘I am Jazz’ it is important to note the enabling environment created by the NBC in this campaign by being proactive with likely complaint channels for customers of the broadcast industry conspicuously on NBC website and via electronic mail (email).

Nigerian parents, cannot be applauded enough for taking up this campaign and owning it as well as the nation’s media for making it a media affair, after all society begets the kind of media they want, just as one mass communication lecturer once put it, media cannot report on what is not available in a given society.

Finally, the management of MultiChoice must not be left out of commendation for listening to their teeming customers, especially in Nigeria, for at least being attentive to the lamentations of the customer as far as this case is concerned. 

It is very important to note the parental control feature on all payTV devices nowadays, especially the DSTV decoders and its crucial for parents to make out time to learn how to set these controls, which of course, the children from time to time unlock, hence, constant check is advocated.

 

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