NGE condemns NBC action, demands revocation of suspension order on Daar licences
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), yesterday, condemned in very strong terms, the indefinite suspension of the licences of two radio and television stations belonging to Daar Communications Limited- the African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power FM- by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). –
In a statement by its President, Funke Egbemode, and Secretary, Mary Atolagbe, the Guild demanded the revocation of the suspension order, saying it runs contrary to the ideals of free speech and the fine tenets of press freedom.
Describing the NBC action as “a case of executive highhandedness,” which “paints Nigeria in the darkest tar of dictatorship,” the Guild said the Fourth Estate of the Realm remains the watchdog of society and any attempt to gag it in any guise is an affront on democracy and the people; hence the NBC must and should rescind its decision.
“The Guild strongly believes the NBC action is a draconian forms of regulation, being out of tune with democratic principles.
“The Guild is concerned about the violation of the constitutional rights of Daar Communications and absence of media freedom, independence and the stifling of operations of media outfits, which are performing their roles as the watchdog of Nigerian society,” the statement added.
The NGE also condemned, in strong terms, “the barbaric crackdown on the broadcast outfit and demands immediate cessation of this atrocious repression and excessive show of power by the NBC, whose duty is to regulate and not kill the media.
“Muzzling the media and throwing thousands of Nigerians into the already saturated labour market should not be the trophy for good corporate governance of a regulator; it is something to be ashamed of and NBC should be ashamed at its action in a fledgling democracy in the 21st Century.
“The Guild is strongly of the opinion that the NBC, in exercising its regulatory powers, should concentrate on implementing policies that will position Nigeria’s broadcasting to compete in the global spheres, rather than engage in witch-hunting and unnecessary show of excessive force.”
It expressed solidarity with the AIT/Raypower family, urging the staff and management to remain calm, as the Guild liaises with well-meaning Nigerians and other media professionals to get justice, appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to use his good offices to call NBC to order.
The NBC had before this year’s general election, shut down Joy FM in Jos, Plateau State, for alleged violations of the broadcasting code. Last year, the body shut down Ekiti Radio/TV station.
But the NGE believed shutting down stations and withdrawing their licences are too extreme in the circumstances, saying there must be humane and saner ways to resolve disputes bordering on violation of the broadcasting code.
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