The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has reacted to the decision of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to suspend the licenses of several media houses.
Naija News recalls the NBC on Friday announced it had revoked the broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, and Rhythm FM amongst others over their failure to renew broadcast licences.
This was made known by the Director General of the NBC, Mallam Balarabe Shehu.
He also directed NBC state offices to liaise with security agencies to ensure the shut down of the operation of these stations within the next 24 hours.
Shehu stated that the licenses of about 52 television and radio stations was suspended over failure to pay federal licensing charges to the tune of N2.6 billion.
Reacting to the development, the NUJ in a statement on Friday by its National President, Chris Isiguzo however described the action of the industry regulator as hasty, ill-timed and reckless.
It added that a media blackout is not what the nation needs at the moment, adding that more dialogue should have been employed in resolving the issue.
The NBC statement reads: “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. The affected stations, according to NBC, are said to owe arrears of licence fees amounting to N2.6 billion since 2015.
“Although the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah claimed that this development had no political motives, yet 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.
“While we regret the inability of these broadcast stations to fulfil their obligations to NBC, in view of dwindling resources, we caution against such a 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.”