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Digitalising Nigeria’s broadcasting industry

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By Usman Oladimeji

Pertinent institutions must shift from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The commemoration of the World Radio Day on the 13th of February gives a perfect momentum, highlighting the imperative need to revamp the entirety of Nigeria’s radio broadcasting industry. Radio broadcasting service is commonly regarded as the most trustworthy and cost-effective method of communication worldwide. However, it is crucial to acknowledge that its reliability and affordability may diminish in the future if misused or overlooked in the industry. Therefore, swift action must be taken to restore and elevate its reputation accordingly.

It is crucial to make sure that the pertinent institutions promptly shift from using analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting as the foremost objective. The concerned authorities must give utmost importance to the mandate of relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) working together, following the directive of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This directive emphasizes the complete transition from analogue to digital broadcasting for all broadcasting firms in Nigeria..

BON must maintain a harmonious rapport with the NBC.

To propel this development, the National Assembly members have a responsibility to pass a robust legislation that would require the shutdown of media companies that do not meet the required standards. Additionally, they should also penalize individuals who try to revert to analogue broadcasting in the years to come. It is imperative for the proposed legislation to require NBC and other relevant bodies to guarantee that any prospective or aspiring media organization must possess digital broadcasting equipment before they can be granted a license.

Moreover, the Broadcasting Organisation Nigeria (BON) must utilize its influence and support the government in raising awareness among its members about the importance of embracing digital broadcasting. Also, BON must maintain a harmonious rapport with the NBC, with the ultimate objective of fully realizing a digitally advanced broadcasting sector in Nigeria. The civil society should also actively participate in this campaign by aligning their efforts towards creating awareness. All stakeholders must be extensively informed about the countless advantages associated with digital broadcasting in a comprehensive manner.

Broadcasting digitization stems from ITU agreement.

Nigeria’s broadcasting industry thrives as a vibrant and ever-evolving sector, catering to millions of television households. The advent of digital broadcasting has paved the way for the transmission of information through the utilization of digital data in lieu of analogue wave forms. The digitization of broadcasting in Nigeria stems from the in compliance with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Radio communication Conference of 2006 (RRC-06) and the subsequent Geneva 2006 Agreement (GE-06). This suggested that all nations across the globe shift from analogue broadcasting to digital broadcasting.

Following numerous attempts at digitization, the digital transmission project initiated by the Federal Government in Nigeria commenced its pilot phase on April 30, 2016 in the city of Jos, the capital of Plateau State. This initial launch was soon followed by a gradual implementation in Abuja, Oshogbo, Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu, and Lagos. As at the early months of the year 2021, only the aforementioned cities in Nigeria had received coverage, representing approximately 6 percent of the country’s total number of states.

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A vast majority of Nigerians are eagerly anticipating the full digitization of broadcast stations, hearing praises from people in advanced countries who have had the pleasure of experiencing it. However, the sluggish pace at which this digital broadcasting transformation is occurring remains a worrisome issue. Examining the impact of digitalization delays on the broadcasting sector in Nigeria is crucial due to the inherent importance of digitalization as a component of sustainable progress within the industry.

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