Broadcast code, declaration of war against arts producers – Prof. Soyinka

Nigerian Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has condemned the 6th National Broadcast Code recently released by the National Broadcasting Commission, saying it amounts to a declaration of war on arts producers by the Federal Government.

In a statement on Tuesday, titled, ‘That NBC Regulatory Code!’, Soyinka said the government should openly state that it had declared war against the arts and arts producers “instead of its present tactics of piecemeal attrition.”

The celebrated writer said it was worrisome that the new NBC regulatory code was coming not long after the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, seemingly aiding book pirates, provided a free-loading portal for the works of Nigerian authors.

He said, “And now it is the turn of a sister industry to be placed under siege! I have just read excerpts of the newly proposed NBC broadcasting code and become aware of some potentially dangerous aspects of the code.

“Whilst one concedes that, I shudder to imagine unintended consequences such as backhanded censorship in the age of digital media. These restrict intellectual property rights and their scope of exploitation with whomsoever one chooses to collaborate.

“It is economic sabotage writ large, directed against thousands of practitioners. Regulatory? This is ‘strangulatory’ in effect!”

He said to understand the details of the damage that the new broadcasting code would cause, policymakers should read Chris Ihidero’s ‘Why Does the NBC Want to Kill Local Content in Nigeria?

“If I may invoke a contemporary tragic image to render graphically what Ihidero and others have pleaded on behalf of both creators and consumers of this artistic productivity, let the government kindly take its knee off the neck of this industry. Please – let it breathe,” Soyinka stated

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