Media Justice Nigeria lauds NBC’s suspended shutdown of radio, TV stations Says action a vindication, wise decision

Media Justice Nigeria (MJN) has expressed satisfaction that after hues and cries by it and other stakeholders in the media ecosystem, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) saw reason not to continue its punitive action of shutting down 53 indebted radio and TV stations, including popular ones like Raypower 100FM, AIT, Silverbird TV and Rhythm FM and others.

In a statement by its director, Anote Ajeluorou, yesterday, the body argued that NBC’s decision was neither in the best interest of the broadcast industry nor of Nigeria and her democracy, coming, especially, close to an election period.

It said the information blackout the shutdown order would generate is counterproductive in a season of high insecurity, even as the country is currently experiencing.

MJN, therefore, commended NBC and diverse stakeholders, like the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and other well meaning persons that prevailed on the NBC and its Director General, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, to do what is right.

It said: “What MJN, however, finds curious is why the NBC singled out DAAR Communications Ltd (operator of Raypower 100Fm and AIT) and Silverbird TV/Rhythm FM for commendation in Ilelah’s statement suspending the shutdown order that says: ‘We specifically thank DAAR Communications Ltd and Silverbird TV/Rhythm FM for their responses.’

“It is on record that these two electronics media organisations are owned by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members, a party opposed to the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) – Ilelah’s employer.

“While MJN will not push the seeming political motive inherent in Ilelah’s subtle admission any further, it wishes to urge the NBC and other media regulators to provide a level-playing field for all media players across board, whether those sympathetic to the APC or those sympathetic to the opposition parties, and not engage in what might hint of a witch-hunt as political campaign season opens next month.”

Media Justice Nigeria added: “It bears emphasising again that media is a necessary handmaiden of a virile democracy. Any action that smacks of inhibiting the constitutional powers of the media to discharge its duties to the electorate effectively and efficiently is a clear negation of democratic ideals and the rights of not only the media but also the entire citizenry that the media serves, as the citizens deserve the right to be informed at all times.

“MJN expects and urges the NBC and other regulators in the media ecosystem to exercise restraint in the discharge of their statutory duties to the media industry and its practitioners. That is the minimum condition that will enable MJN to provide regulators needed encouragement and support in carrying out their functions.”

Source: Guardian.ng

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