The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has requested that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) review the cost of operating licenses for Nigerian broadcasting organizations.
The call was made by NLC President Ayuba Wabba in a statement issued just days after NBC announced the withdrawal of broadcast licenses for more than 50 radio and television stations in the country.
The NBC made its decision based on the stations’ failure to renew their licenses.
However, Wabba stated in his statement that the decision failed to take into account economic challenges that have harmed the stations’ operations, arguing that the stations did not refuse to renew their licenses on purpose.
“In defence of the media, democratic and economic rights of Nigerians, we call on the NBC to rescind this decision to withdraw the operating licenses of the affected 53 media houses,” he said.
“In light of our foregoing concerns, we urge that the media operating license be reviewed downwards as information dissemination is a social service.”
The NLC President acknowledged that the NBC had a regulatory duty in the broadcast industry, but emphasized that the withdrawal of licenses “is a little too drastic, dramatic, draconian, and debilitating not only for the affected media houses but also for their staff and indeed millions of Nigerians who follow programs from the affected media houses.”
In making their case for the affected media organizations, they provided examples of the difficulties they face.
He said, “Many media houses just like most businesses in Nigeria suffer the double jeopardy of escalating business costs and plummeting revenues.
“Largely to blame for this sad state of affairs is government which mismanagement of the economy has ensured that a litre of diesel is now knocking at the borderline of ₦1000. To compound the situation is the epileptic supply of electricity with the national grid collapsing intermittently for the umpteenth time in recent months.
“In addition to the soaring and scary rising energy costs which hit electronic media houses hardest given that they must always be on air whether it makes economic sense or not, there are salaries to pay. maintenance services, and sundry basic operating costs to keep the media houses running and serving their listening and viewing public.
“Amidst these operational suffocations, how does the NBC expect the media houses to generate the money to renew their operating licenses? Indeed, Nigeria’s media houses should be eulogized for resilience, and tenacity in the face of prevailing economic blizzards.”