The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) sanction and revocation of 52 broadcast station.
NUJ while condemning NBC’s sanction via a statement on Friday said that the decision is hasty and ill-timed.
The union’s national president, Chris Isiguzo via the statement said that “The decision today by the industry regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission – NBC, to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations nationwide over indebtedness to the Commission was ill-advised.
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“The affected stations, according to NBC are said to owe arrears of licence fees amounting to ₦2.6 billion since 2015.
“Although the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah claimed that this development had no political motives, we insist that the action was ill-timed and reckless.
“It should be noted that this wholesale revocation of licences at this critical time of insecurity in the Country appears to be a decision taken without careful prior deliberation, consultation, or counsel.”
The NUJ believes in the face of economic hardship, the ”large scale clampdown of broadcast stations in disregard to security issues and the attendant consequence. We cannot afford the unpleasant outcome of such a media blackout at this time.
“We call on NBC to exercise more restraint on this issue in consideration of national security and allow for more dialogue and consultation to find a better way of dealing with the situation.”
The Herald recalls that NBC sanctioned the stations earlier today, saying that the indebted licensees were in May 2022 given a two-week ultimatum to renew their licences.
NBC said that the sanctioned media outlets have “24 hours to shut down their operations” and also directed its offices across the country to “collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance”.
“In view of this development, the continued operation of the debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security,” NBC added.
NBC REVOKES BROADCAST LICENSES OF DEBTOR BROADCAST STATIONS. pic.twitter.com/FscHyGiKX7
— nbcgovng (@nbcgovng) August 19, 2022