The Nigerian government through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has today revoked the broadcast licenses of over 50 television and radio stations, including Africa Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM, Silverbird television, and Rhythm FM among other media houses.
Bashir Ahmad, Special Assistant on Digital Communications to President Muhammadu Buhari, announced this on Twitter quoting the head of the broadcast regulator, NBC. The affected stations were accused of failure to renew their licenses.
According to him:
“The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has revoked the broadcast licences of AIT, Silverbird TV, Raypower FM, Rhythm FM and 48 other stations over failure to renew their broadcast licences, the NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illelah discloses this today, in Abuja,” Mr Ahmad wrote.
Mallam Balarabe Shehu, the Director General (DG) of the NBC, also directed its state offices to work with security operatives to ensure that the stations are shut down within the next 24 hours.
One more NBC sanction
Recall, that some weeks ago we reported that the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) fined Multichoice Nigeria Ltd, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), NTA-Startimes Limited, and local channel Trust TV a hefty sum of Five Million Naira (5,000,000.00) each for airing the BBC African Eye documentary titled, “Bandit Warlords of Zamfara,” which reveals the secrets behind most of the bandit attacks in Zamfara state.
NBC stated that it believes such reports glamorise the activities of bandits and undermine national security in Nigeria.
The agency also cautions broadcasters to exercise extreme caution in their efforts to educate, inform, and enlighten the public on issues concerning developments and happenings both within and outside the country.
The Commission wishes to seize this opportunity to advise broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s national securityIn a statement by Nigerian Broadcasting Commission
This follows the initial suspension of the social media platform Twitter, by the Federal Government on July 5 by the same administration. The decision according to the government was, in part, due to the decision of Twitter to delete the president’s Tweet.
The Federal Government then went on to direct major TV platforms and radio stations like Channels, AIT and other broadcasting stations in the country to stop using Twitter.
What this means for press freedom
The most recent development reflects yet another round of press-related sanctions, which sends a message about the level of freedom and control accorded to and asserted the press’s crucial role in providing Nigerians with accurate information.
Also, it remains to be seen what the response of the various TV stations and broadcasting platforms would be.
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