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Nigerian govt set to regulate Netflix, content providers and other streaming services, says Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Wednesday in Lagos announced the federal government readiness to regulate Netflix and other streaming and content providers.

The Minister, who spoke at a two-day conference organized by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), practitioners and stakeholders in the entertainment and creative industry on “the implication of Nigeria censorship laws and regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services and content providers in Nigeria.” 

Represented by the Director, Information and Technology of the Ministry, Comfort Ajiboye, Lai Mohammed said the need for the regulation was due to the increased demand and usage of streaming services in Nigeria since the outbreak of the pandemic which may be exploited to “cause chaos” and undermine Nigeria’s democratic processes.

The Executive Director/CEO of the NFVCB, Adedayo Thomas in his opening remarks said the conference was to brainstorm on creating policies to regulate streamers and content providers 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.

The NFVCB helmsman said streaming service providers were unable to self-regulate, the reason why their operations were now being discussed at the conference with the theme, “Nigeria Digital Content Regulation”.

According to Thomas, “the goal of regulation is not to stifle creativity but to create sanity and encourage healthy competition for socio-economic gains.”

In attendance at the conference was Netflix Director of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa, Shola Sanni, Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and Theatre and Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN).

Other participants include members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN).

 Local and international streaming services, Free To Air (FTA), Pay TV operators and other content creators were also represented.

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