Multichoice monopoly: NBC defies court order to intervene on Metrodigital complaint

Local pay television company, Metrodigital has expressed worry over the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) defiance of a court order compelling her to intervene on Metrodigital’s complaint against Multichoice’s refusal to sublet its premium content in line with the National Broadcasting Code.

 

The Court of Appeal Sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers state had in a 13 June 2022 judgement compelled the NBC to within 21 days “initiate the process for determination of the dispute” between Metrodigital and Multichoice under the NBC Act, 6th Edition of the Broadcasting Code and its addendum.

Expressing worry over the situation in its Port Harcourt based Friday, Managing Director of Metrodigital, Dr John Nwanfor confirmed that, “NBC has not responded, no contact made to us and the 21 days has passed. We do not know why, but we are working with Federal Government (FG) to ensure that NBC responds.

“This not just a fight for Metro TV. Local pay tv companies such as Daar sat, Trend tv, Consat, FSTV and a host of others have all died due to their inability to cope with unhealthy business practices in the Nigerian broadcasting space. The death of these companies led to thousands of job losses across the country.

“FG seeing the dangers of monopoly took bold steps to outlaw exclusivity in acquisition of content. With the end of monopoly, the industry will grow exponentially with lots of innovations. Many jobs will be created, prices will come down for the Nigerian public. Quality of service will improve due to the new found competition.”

Nwanfor therefore urged stakeholders, particularly the NBC and FG to be alive to its regulatory duty and honour the court order, saying, “No one is asking NBC to do the unthinkable. It is just a question of enforcing a guiding regulation encoded in the Act in black and white. That was the basis the court decided in our favour.”

In the event of NBC failing to do the needful, lawyer to Metrodigital, Anetochukwu Nworgu, said, “The law is very clear. If you don’t comply it becomes contempt. There are people manning this agency. If you become reckless, you risk being sent behind the bars. We do not want to believe that’s what NBC wants. We are watching and hoping all parties show mutual understanding.”


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