The Federal Government of Nigeria will be introducing new censorship laws and regulatory framework for streaming services and content providers available in Nigeria, as hinted by the country’s Minister of Information and Culture – Lai Mohammed.
In a two-day conference organized by the National Film and Video Censor Board (NFVCB) in Lagos, Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture said that streaming services such as Netflix could be used as an instrument to “cause chaos” as well as undermine Nigeria’s democratic processes. According to the minister, these streaming services needed to be regulated before they become uncontrollable. The minister, represented by Ajiboye Comfort, the Director of Information and Technology made it known that the surge in streaming services in Nigeria was as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
During his opening speech at the conference, Adedayo Thomas, the director of the National Film and Video Censor Board, said that the conference was held to bring stakeholders together to discuss creating relevant policies and regulations for streaming services in Nigeria. “With over 50 per cent internet penetration, it has become imperative to convene this conference to bring together stakeholders and legislators in a conversation so as to come up with crystal policies on the regulation of streamers and content providers,” Thomas said.
Accoridng to Adedayo Thomas, these streaming services were unable to regulate themselves, thus needing the regulation from the government. He also stated that these regulations will be designed to benefit the country by providing an environment to promote healthy competition and not in any way to limit these services or cause them to be unavailable in the country. “The goal of regulation is not to stifle creativity but to create sanity and encourage healthy competition for socio-economic gains,” he added.
The decision to regulate streaming services such as Netflix follows the brouhaha between the Nigerian government and Twitter, which got banned in the country months ago. According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Twitter was banned to protect the corporate existence of Nigerians.
Although for now, regulating streaming services in Nigeria doesn’t sound as tough as the Twitter ban but things could get worse depending on whatever decision that the government decides to take.