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MultiChoice in Trouble as FG Issues Quit Notice to DSTv, Others

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The Federal Government may have notified the management of MultiChoice DSTV/GOTV that their operations, in Nigeria, will come to an end in 2019 as their license expires June next year.

 

According to a letter to that effect by the National Broadcasting Corporation(NBC), the license issued to them in 2014 by NBC will not be renewed because it was not in line with Digital Switch Over (DSO) White Paper.

 

Modibo Ishaq Kawu, director general, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), recently disclosed that all paid DTT operators including DSTV, GOTV and Star Times will be shut down by June 2019 unless they begin discussions with the two signal distributors, ITS and Pinnacle.

Elsewhere, the broadcast giant was also fined $14 million in South Africa for price fixing in Nigeria with the aid of Emeka Mbah, former NBC director general.

 

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, Kawu said that in preparation for full implementation of switch over from analogue to digital signals, all operators in the sector including signal distributors, content aggregator, Set top Box manufacturers ought to be on the same page now, to help in delivering a seamless Digital Switch Over (DSO).

The NBC boss also said in line with a Federal Government White paper, Multichoice who are the owners of DSTV and GOTV as well as Star Times owned by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) will no longer be able to operate as both signal distributor and content provider.

 

He said: “NBC has also informed the pay DTT operators, GOTV and NTA/STAR TIMES, to begin discussions with the two signal distributors, ITS and Pinnacle Communications.

 

“This is because, in line with the Government White Paper on the Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting, after June 2019, these pay DTT operators would no longer be licenced to operate as both content providers and signal distributors”.

 

Kawu further explained that DSO has been implemented in two mores states of Kaduna and Kwara at the end of 2017, bringing the number of states on DSO to four with FCT and Plateau topping the list.

 

He informed that NBC has already scheduled Monday, February 12, 2018 to switch on Enugu Atate while February 23 has been affirmed for Osun State just as Delta and Gombe states will be the next.

 

Kawu, who gave a schedule of the planned DSO, stated that the next phase will include one state from each of the six geo-political regions, during this year, 2018.

 

“We envisage that by the end of the third quarter of 2018, we would have switched on in 12 states around Nigeria,” he assured.

 

The NBC boss also commended stakeholders in the implementation process for their resolve to work together.

 

He said that at a retreat in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, players in the sector were made to appreciate each others responsibility and a clear role was carved out for each player to guarantee a seamless transition in the DSO eco-system.

 

“We have also consciously delineated revenue streams for all players, an issue which was the basis for some of the rancour that existed before. The broadcasters, signal distributors, content aggregator, Set top Box manufacturers are all on the same page now, to help strengthen the work of delivering the DSO.

 

“Similarly, we are going to also begin a phased Analogue Switch Off (ASO), in Plateau State and the FCT, by the end of the First Quarter of 2018. “And as part of acceleration of the work, we have commenced the digital mapping of Nigeria. It is a process that would help to give clarity to the entire DSO process,” he added.

 

Kawu also stated that NBC has submitted a long list of new radio and television stations to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent.

 

He said, “The President has always been encouraging the NBC to open up accesses for Nigerians to be able to register newer radio and television stations, because of his belief that they help to deepen democratic discourse, while also helping to create new jobs through the broadcasting value chain.”

 

He urged broadcasters to use their medium to promote democratic ethos and discourage hate speeches as election year approaches and to be moderate in their reportage of sensitive national issues.

 

“Broadcasters are reminded that they have a duty to respect all extant laws related to the reportage and coverage of the electoral process. Don’t broadcast campaigns when the period for commencement of campaigns have not commenced.

 

In South Africa, MultiChoice’s DStv has been fined $14 million for price fixing after being found guilty by South Africa’s Competition Commission to have contravened the country’s Competition Act in relation to “price fixing and fixing of trading conditions”.

 

The company whose largest market is in Nigeria where it has been in operation for about 22 years has been in the news for ripping Nigerians off with its inflexible subscription conditions and unfriendly quality of service (QoS) which could be attributed to its monopolistic status in the Nigerian market.

 

The House of Representatives had in April, 2017 instructed its Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to investigate Multichoice Nigeria’s ‘exorbitant charges’ for its DStv and GOtv packages.

 

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StarTimes to Crash Subscription by September 1

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StarTimes said it will reduce subscription fee for its Classic bouquet from N2,600 to N1,900 come September 1, with the inclusion of Ebony Life TV, ST Nollywood Plus and Fox and ST Kids to the bouquet.

 

The pay-TV company also declared a one-month free access for all its subscribers starting from August 1 to 31 on all decoders, irrespective of subscription status to ensure customers have access to its new channels, available on the Classic bouquet.

 

Kunmi Balogun, the company’s public relations manager, saidthat “This reinforces our commitment to ensuring that our customers enjoy the best for less.”

 

Balogun said: “Starting from September 1, all StarTimes subscribers will enjoy more entertainment for less. With the addition of new entertainment, movies and kiddie’s channels. We are aware of the economic challenges faced by many Nigerians and have resolved to allow them watch all our new channels for free this August and reduce our subscription rate come September 1.”

 

The company added that it seeks to enrich the lives of its customers across the various territories where it operates. “We are constantly looking for new ways of delivering more value to our customers with the best local and international entertainment.

 

“We want to do our bit with this offering. While others are increasing prices, we find ways to lower ours to ensure customer satisfaction,” he added.

 

 

 

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MURIC Boasts it Got NBC to Ban Falz Video

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Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said that after unsuccessfully trying to get Falz, a Nigerian singer to take down his viral video “This is Nigeria” they ‘ambushed’ him using National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

 

Recall that the NBC had a few days back banned the song it alleged is “laced with vulgar lyrics”.

 

But in a statement, Monday by Ishaq Akintola, MURIC director, claimed credit for the NBC’s action adding that they avoided going to court as that might take years to resolve.

 

“We asked Falz to withdraw the video or we would sue him,” the statement read.

 

“Instead of showing remorse he dared us. We knew he could delay the court case for years because he is a lawyer and he would use every trick in the books to frustrate us. That was why he was boasting.

Falz, a Nigerian singer

“Therefore, instead of going to court, we decided to ambush him by sending a petition to the video board. This week, the NBC banned the video and others like it.

 

“He should be the one to go to court now if he likes. Let him go and show how brilliant he is in court.

 

“He and his fans laughed at us when we complained about his provocative and vulgar video. But there is no doubt that he who laughs last laughs best. It is hoped that Nigerian artistes will borrow a leaf from this episode.”

 

The group commended the NBC they said  “Falz and other artistes should encourage the youth to emulate our heroes instead of pushing them to ape rogues. Finally, we commend NBC and the video censors board for acting swiftly.”

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NGO Calls for Sack of Kawu, NBC Boss over Hate Speech

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Paradigm Initiative, Pan-African digital rights advocacy group, has called on the Acting President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to terminate the appointment of Modibbo Kawu as Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, for alleged engagement in spreading hate speech.

 

The group made the call in a letter sent to the acting president last Wednesday, August 8.

 

The group urged the acting president to relieve the DG of the NBC of his duties “to allow for fair investigation of comments attributed to him and to serve as a needed example and precedent for politicians and public officers irrespective of political affiliation”

Modibbo Kawu

Mr. Kawu’s duty as the Director General of the NBC entails ensuring that the execution of the policies of the commission and its day to day administration is carried out smoothly.

 

The organization further noted that “in carrying out this responsibility… several sanctions and heavy fines have been imposed by the DG against radio, television stations and media houses who have been adjudged as promoting “anti-democratic” content such as misinformation and content capable of inciting violence or causing disaffection in the polity.”

 

However, a Premium Times report on the 5th of August 2018 revealed that Mr. Kawu engaged in posting a string of undemocratic messages on a Whatsapp group of northern editors and intellectuals.

 

In the said group, he made statements of tribal and ethnic implications; capable of inciting hate.

 

According to Boye Adegoke, Program Manager in Paradigm Initiative, “Given the sensitive nature of Mr. Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

 

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the Director General of the Commission responsible for amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

 

“At a time when the Nigerian government is putting in efforts to curb fake news, hate speech and harmful content, it is almost laughable that the very person put in the frontline of championing this cause is reported to be engaging in acts such as this,” Adegoke concluded.

 

Paradigm Initiative ended the letter reminding the acting president that Nigeria is a democratic nation in which no one should be above the law and in which equity and justice prevail.

 

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