“Digital broadcasting to boost Nigeria’s global presence in broadcasting” – Shola Taylor

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Shola Taylor, Secretary General – CTO with Honourable Lai Mohammed, Nigerian Minister of Information & Culture

Shola Taylor, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) joined the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture,Honourable Lai Mohammed and the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Professor Sonni Tyoden and other members of the Federal Government of Nigeria at the pilot launch of Nigeria’s digital terrestrial broadcasting switch-over in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

Like most African countries, Nigeria is in the process of migrating its current analogue free-to-air terrestrial broadcasting systems to digital transmission systems. However, for most countries on the continent, it has been a slow and challenging process.

All eyes were on Jos on Saturday, a one million inhabitants city in central Nigeria for the first test of dual analogue and digital transmission in the West African country.

Mr Taylor, a Nigerian citizen and an internationally known career telecommunications engineer, was particularly optimistic about the prospects for his home country. Nigeria’s private broadcasting sector, a well-respected industry for its broadcasting industry known more commonly around the world as “Nollywood”, stands to benefit even more from a digital terrestrial broadcasting environment once fully deployed.

“I have personally witnessed how successful “Nollywood” films and series are in other corners of the world, such as in the Caribbean and in the Pacific islands where I have often traveled and where I can report here that people eagerly watch Nigerian films, and this change should help increase Nigeria’s presence in the global broadcasting market,” he said.

The CTO actively supports its members’ digital migration in a variety of ways, including by helping to promote their national industry. For instance, in collaboration with the National Broadcasting Commission, the CTO will be holding this year’s Digital Broadcasting Africa Forum next month in Lagos on 11 – 13 May, giving players in the Nigerian broadcasting sector an opportunity to showcase their capability to the rest of the continent and beyond. In addition, the CTO is also directly advising a number of other countries on various aspects of their digital switch-over migration, including neighbouring Cameroon.

Referring to similarities with other countries, Mr Taylor said that this change must not be underestimated, because there is now an opportunity to produce and broadcast significantly more educational content and more localised content. Specialist television channels for health or education or tourism that were once too difficult or impossible to finance or set up are now possible today, helping ordinary citizens to access practical information more regularly and more readily.