Court orders Multichoice to sublicense channels

The Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday ordered MultiChoice, operators of DStv and Gotv in Nigeria, to sub-license some of its TV channels to Metro Digital, in accordance with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission’s code. (NBC). . The appellant, Metro Digital, a local pay television, had sued MultiChoice in the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, after the South African entertainment company rejected a request by the former to sublicense channels and programs to Metro Digital. the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture were sued as co-defendants. MultiChoice had argued that, not being the owners of the programs, it could not share the licenses with them as requested by Metro Digital. The refusal of the South African cable television company to share the licenses of its programs triggered the lawsuit filed by Metro Digital in 2021. Metro Digital lost the lawsuit in the National High Court and subsequently filed an appeal. But on Wednesday, Judge Olabode Adegbehingbe, ruling in the appeal challenging the lower court’s decision, ordered MultiChoice to sublicense the channels within 21 days, under the supervision of NBC, reports The Nation. Adegbehingbe said NBC violated its legal duties by refusing to issue directives to Metro Digital’s complaints. The newspaper reports that the judge noted that NBC’s non-intervention negatively impacted the appellant’s business. “My conclusion is that the lower court was wrong when it removed the name of the third defendant in the lawsuit,” the judge said. He said: “The lower court also erred in dismissing appellant’s claim when appellant proved the existence of the dispute between himself and the first defendant that should have been reserved for the determination of the second defendant. “The appeal is highly successful and the lower court judgment that dismissed appellant in its entirety is reversed.” orders The judge also issued “a binding injunction order is hereby issued to compel the second defendant to heed the directives of the appellant’s complaints against the first defendant pursuant to the Broadcasting Code of Nigeria (6th edition) and its modifications”. Ordered NBC to “commence proceedings for the determination of the dispute between Appellant and First Defendant within 21 days from the date of this Judgment under the auspices of the NBC Act, 6th edition of the NBC Code and its annex. ”. NBC changed the broadcast code to break the monopoly in the cable TV market by increasing the rights to a show and removing the exclusivity of a show, Ripples Nigeria reported. According to the regulatory agency, the code is intended to increase the number of players in pay TV and allow for competition, considering that several Nigerian-owned cable TV companies have closed shops due to MultiChoice’s monopoly on the market. In addition to Multichoice’s dominance in the cable TV space, there have also been issues with the company’s subscription fees and the company’s resistance to a pay-per-use mode of accessing its TV channels. Read More Related News Here Let here it in the comment below if you do have an opinion on this; Court orders Multichoice to sublicense channels