Friday, June 11, 2021

Backdoor licensing of social media: Stakeholders kick against NBC plan – ITREALMS


Stakeholders in the information and communication technology industry have condemned the planned licensing of social media platforms by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), ITREALMS exclusively report.

ITREALMS recalls that NBC was on news trend, Thursday reportedly that “All social media platforms, online broadcasters must apply for licence by NBC” which emanated from published advertorial.

Speaking to ITREALMS exclusively on Friday, notable stakeholders in the ICT sector, kicked against this directive by NBC, alleging coming through the backdoor to license Over The Top (OTT) platforms which is the bedrock of social media, even as some court cases may spring up soon.

In his reaction, Executive Director at Paradigm Initiative (PI), Mr. Gbenga Sesan told ITREALMS that social media platforms are not broadcasters and the NBC is overreaching by trying to license them.

He also said, Paradigm Initiative and partners are set to challenge this in court because it is another illegal attempt to sneak in social media regulation via inappropriate secondary legislation instead of going through robust debate for lawmaking at the National Assembly.

Equally responding to ITREALMS, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Engr. Gbenga Adebayo agreed that the licensing of OTT has to happen, but not in purview of NBC but the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

He explained that “Indeed yes, Over-The-Top (OTT) is a layer on communication channels provided on telecom services: it’s part of the Quad Play of Broad-bands which refers to Telephony, Television, Internet and other Mobile Services.”

Adebayo posited that “It’s part of the convergence of telecommunications and broadcasting and the regulator of the base infrastructure should be responsible for licensing of the players which in this case and in our understanding is the Nigeria Communications Commission.”


ALSO READ:  NBC: All social media platforms, online broadcasting service providers must apply for licence – ITREALMS


ALTON boss insisted that “It is a conversation that needs to happen but not under the current circumstances of a suspension of Twitter as a service and the directive for licensing arising therefrom.”

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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