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NBC directs Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, online broadcasters to apply for licence

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The National Broadcasting Commission on Thursday ordered all social media platforms including Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and online broadcasting service providers operating in Nigeria to apply for a broadcast license.

NBC Director-General, Armstrong Idachaba, gave the directive in a newspaper advertorial published on Thursday, June 10.

Idachaba stated in the advertorial that the NBC establishment code empowers the commission to ask the companies to be licensed.
Section two (b) of the NBC act of 2004 states:

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“(1) The Commission shall have [the] responsibility of: Receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of radio and television stations including (i) cable television services, direct satellite broadcast and any other medium of broadcasting.”

The advertorial reads:

“The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) hereby directs every Online Broadcast Service provider and Social Media Platforms operating within the Nigerian State to apply and obtain broadcast licence for their service(s).

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“Note that any Online Broadcast Service Provider that fails to obtain a licence will be considered an illegal entity.”

It is not immediately clear whether the directive applies strictly to only broadcast organisations or not.

The announcement comes barely 24 hours after the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced that all over-the-top service providers like Facebook, Twitter, and other microblogging sites will have to register for a license before they can operate in Nigeria.

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Recall that the Federal government suspended Twitter’s operation in Nigeria days on Friday after the site deleted a tweet from President Buhari’s handle

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