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Revoked licences: NBC insensitive to plight of broadcasters, says media NGO

Revoked licences: NBC insensitive to plight of broadcasters, says media NGO
August 19
18:01 2022

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has expressed dismay over the decision of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations.

The commission said the broadcast stations have not renewed their licences in years, accumulating a debt of over N2 billion.

Some of the notable broadcasters affected are Silverbird Television, African Independent Television (AIT) and Rhythm FM.

In a statement on Friday, Obioma Okonkwo, MRA’s legal head, said the NBC is insensitive to the harsh economic environment under which the broadcast stations have operated over the last two and a half years owing to ripple effects of COVID-19 on the global economy.


“We are shocked by this naked display by the NBC of a lack of appreciation of its principal role which is to contribute to the emergence of a knowledge society,” Okonkwo said.

“Rather, it has chosen to create an environment in which millions of Nigerians will wallow in ignorance, deprived of access to crucial information that they need to make critical decisions in their lives or to enhance their livelihoods.

“The action of the NBC has only worsened the prevailing lopsidedness in the broadcasting landscape in Nigeria which was already dominated by government-owned broadcasting stations but is now under the monopolistic control of federal government-owned stations, which will be almost unchallenged, with the result that citizens will now be fed unmitigated propaganda by these remaining stations.”


She said the fees imposed on the broadcasters for the renewal of their licences should be reviewed.

“The fact that so many broadcasting stations have been unable to pay the license fees raises serious questions about the fairness and appropriateness of the fees being imposed on broadcasters by NBC in such a challenging economic environment,” Okonkwo said.

“As the NBC, which imposes the fees and collects them for its own use, there needs to be an independent inquiry into this apparent conflict of interest where the motivation of the commission is apparently to make as much money for itself as possible.”



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