The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) called the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) sanction of 52 broadcast stations hasty.
NUJ condemning NBC’s move via on Friday, also said it is ill-timed.
The union’s national president, Chris Isiguzo via a statement obtained by BizWatch Nigeria said that “The decision today by the industry regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission – NBC, to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations nationwide over indebtedness to the Commission was ill-advised.
“The affected stations, according to NBC are said to owe arrears of licence fees amounting to ₦2.6 billion since 2015.
“Although the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah claimed that this development had no political motives, we insist that the action was ill-timed and reckless.
“It should be noted that this wholesale revocation of licences at this critical time of insecurity in the Country appears to be a decision taken without careful prior deliberation, consultation, or counsel.”
The NUJ believes in the face of economic hardship, the”large scale clampdown of broadcast stations in disregard to security issues and the attendant consequence. We cannot afford the unpleasant outcome of such a media blackout at this time.”
“We call on NBC to exercise more restraint on this issue in consideration of national security and allow for more dialogue and consultation to find a better way of dealing with the situation,” the union added.
NBC sanctions 52 broadcast stations
BizWatch Nigeria had reported that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on Friday, August 19, 2022, announced it has revoked the licenses of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, and Rhythm FM amongst others.
In a statement in which NBC made this disclosure, the commission noted there-in that the licenses were revoked over the stations’ failure to renew them, which it said had amounted to N2.66 billion.
Defending its action, NBC said the license withdrawal of the stations followed a series of notifications sent to them for renewal, adding that a two-week waiver was given to them to do so after which they risked the revocation of their broadcast licences.
“Some licensees are yet to pay their outstanding debts, in contravention of the National Broadcasting Commission Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, particularly section 10(a) of the third schedule of the Act.