NCC to adjust regulatory instruments and management tools to boost telecommunications industry – The Sun Nigeria


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that it is adjusting regulatory instruments and management tools to ensure regulations are responsive to future imperatives of a robust telecommunications sector.

Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), NCC, Adeleke Adewolu, said during a panel discussion at the 2021 Nigerian Bar Association Annual General Conference held in Port Harcourt on the theme “Take the initiative”.

Adewolu, “Concretely, we are acting in the following areas: We are adjusting regulatory instruments and management tools to ensure that regulations are fit for the future. One example is our ongoing revision of the Telephone Subscriber Registration Regulations to strengthen the digital identity framework; and revising the spectrum trading guidelines to ensure more efficient use of spectrum. In addition, the ECSM said that the NCC lays the institutional foundation to enable cooperation with other regulatory institutions and international organizations such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The Commission, according to Adewolu, is also developing and adapting governance frameworks to allow the development of agile and sustainable regulation; and also adapting enforcement activities to the “new normal”. He said it was about ensuring alignment with rapid technological changes and innovations emerging at high speed and with sophistication.

Speaking on censorship, in particular the fight against illegal and harmful content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms, Adeleke said that NCC must opt ​​for “a middle ground that promotes safe use digital service platforms without necessarily stifling the exercise of citizens’ right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.

He explained that on technology platforms, censorship manifests itself in three scenarios, namely, restriction of person-to-person communications; restriction of Internet access in general; or restricting access to specific content, which governments find objectionable.

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This, he said, was in accordance with constitutional provisions such as Article 39 (3) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999, as amended, which approves “any law reasonably justifiable in a democratic society to prevent the disclosure of information received in confidence. , maintaining the authority and independence of the courts or regulating telephony, wireless broadcasting, television or the showing of motion pictures.

In particular, Adewolu said that the third scenario is globally recognized as the ideal situation because one of the main responsibilities of government (as enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution) is to protect the life and property of citizens.

Explaining further, Adewolu said social media platforms allow instant communications without considering impact or consequences. He insisted that self-regulation is possible, but “as we have experienced time and time again, reckless posting on social media can easily spur trouble and crises.”

He lamented that major social media platforms have shown a rather unfortunate reluctance to moderate the use of their platforms for the purposes of subversion and prejudice. “So we cannot trust them to self-regulate,” he stressed.

According to him, self-regulation has not been very effective and, interestingly, “the biggest platforms are global platforms and many of them are protected by their home government”.

For example, “Sc. 230 of the US Communications Act grants companies like Facebook and Google immunity from liability for content on their media, although they still apply fair use and community rules that allow them to self-regulate. However, as we saw with the case of former US President Donald Trump – people are often able to broadcast negative content for a period of time before being cut. Mr. Trump had over 87 million followers with whom he engaged directly, ”the ECSM said.

Another example he cited occurred just days ago, when CNN reported that Facebook deliberately failed to restrict posts inciting violence in Ethiopia despite its own staff reporting such publications, and that Ethiopia was listed as a priority area, which has been fighting a civil war for the past year. As Adewolu recalled, the UN Secretary-General recently called for the regulation of social media platforms, and even the CEO of Facebook has made similar calls in the past.

“So we cannot depend entirely on self-regulation. And while we cannot prevent citizens from expressing themselves freely on these platforms, it would be irresponsible of any government to allow the unbridled use of these high profile communications to cause chaos and endanger lives and property. . The government must act to protect social cohesion and national security, ”he advised.

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