• Friday, April 12, 2024
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Charting a visionary course for the National Broadcasting Commission under D-G, Charles Ebuebu

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There has always been the criticism of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) that it’s overbearing. It’s also been accused of arbitrary imposition of sanctions on organizations for perceived infringement of its codes. These have led to litigations and heightened mistrust among stakeholders.

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In a situation of very dire business challenges, NBC earned the odious reputation of a regulator, exacerbating the economic woes of stakeholders, who are grappling with economic uncertainties.

Well, with the appointment of Charles Ebuebu as Director-General of the Commission on 20 October 2023 by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it seems that Daniel has come to judgment. And the prospects are bright, and the end to its loss of esteem among broadcast licensees in sight.

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Indeed, Ebuebu’s appointment has boosted the morale of the organization in many areas.

On assumption of office, Ebuebu hit the ground running, addressing the many contending issues. He inspired a comprehensive restructuring of the Board of Management through a strategic plan that is expected to realign and reposition the Commission as a leading 21st-century regulator.

He brought over two decades of expertise in Corporate and Commercial law and a career trajectory spanning global markets, respect for intellectual property, international business ethics and transactional legal skills. Notably, he has made significant contributions to Digital Switch Over Projects and deployed his extensive experience in channels/programs acquisition and management. His innovative approach and industry connections underscore his capacity to lead the NBC into a new phase of evolution.

Mr. Ebuebu has also shown remarkable commitment to fostering trust and collaboration between the regulator and licensees. This became evident as he embarked on a multifaceted approach to address industry concerns.

Ebuebu studied law at Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, and then proceeded to the Nigeria Law School and was called to the Bar in 1996.

Before his appointment, he was Chief Executive Officer, Inview Technologies Nigeria Ltd. Previously, he was Group Head, Legal & Previous Head of Programmes & Channels.

His approach is innovative, a complete departure from the conventional mode. It consists of constructing a roadmap aimed at altering the existing narrative about NBC as a bully and lacking in public trust. He got the Council to review pending cases, including recent Federal High Court judgments contesting the Commission’s right to issue sanctions.

Acknowledging the need for an updated regulatory framework, Mr. Ebuebu committed to pursuing the amendment of the NBC Act and reviewing the White Paper on Digital Switch Over Implementation in Nigeria.

Under him, NBC has prioritized staff welfare and capacity building, emphasizing the importance of motivated and well-trained staff to meet international standards.

NBC has intervened in conflicts between operators, on rights issues, including those that could have averted screening in Nigeria of matches at the recent AFCON 2023.

He has actively engaged with stakeholders on a range of policy issues affecting the broadcasting industry. This collaborative approach aims to formulate holistic policies that foster a sustainable and vibrant broadcast industry. By understanding and addressing the challenges faced by stakeholders, Mr. Ebuebu seeks to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between the regulator and industry players, ensuring regulatory policies align with the industry’s evolving needs.

Another area in which he broke new grounds is the development of clear guidelines for social media content monitoring and regulation. NBC hopes to ensure responsible broadcasting practices in the digital sphere.

In an effort to maintain a healthy and competitive broadcasting sector, NBC, under Mr. Ebuebu, is committed to implementing policies that foster fair competition. This proactive approach aims to prevent monopolies and create a level playing field for industry players. By championing policies that encourage diversity and competitiveness, Mr. Ebuebu ensures that the broadcasting sector remains dynamic and responsive to the evolving needs of the audience.

Recognizing the pivotal role of technology in shaping the future of broadcasting, Mr. Ebuebu envisions the establishment of a Technology and Innovation Hub within the NBC. This hub will serve as a focal point for exploring cutting-edge technologies, incubating startups, and driving technological advancements in the broadcast sector. By fostering innovation and collaboration, Mr. Ebuebu aims to position the NBC at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring that the broadcast industry remains adaptive and resilient in the face of rapid technological changes. The Technology and Innovation Hub aligns with the broader vision of embracing innovation as a catalyst for industry growth and sustainability.

In his address at the 13th Edition of Africast in October 2023, Mr. Ebuebu emphasized collaborative efforts to confront challenges and unlock the vast potentials of the broadcast industry. The DG, NBC, also collaborated with stakeholders to recover outstanding advertising revenue owed to broadcasters, aiming to prevent the financial strain on channel owners and restore confidence in the industry.

Though he admits that the challenges are enormous but surmountable with the right collaborations from all stakeholders, sincerity and unity of purpose as well as the political will garnered towards delivering the Digital Dividends to all Nigerians which the DSO project is set to achieve. “This is the mandate I and my team at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) are set to accomplish in no record time with God on our side”.

In his 100 days in office, Ebuebu has demonstrated a resolute commitment to navigating challenges, collaborating with stakeholders, and instigating transformative measures to elevate the Commission to new heights. As the broadcast industry anticipates a promising future under his leadership, the listener is assured of good times on airwaves.