NBC shut down AIT, Raypower indefinitely
The National Broadcasting Commission on Thursday shut down the African Independent Television and Ray Power FM belonging to the Daar Communications Limited.
The NBC Director-General, Dr Modibbo Kawu, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, saying the Daar Communication Limited’s media houses’ shutdown was until further notice.
The offences listed by the NBC included the airing of a Presidential election documentary by the AIT, a matter pending before a tribunal, the inability of the company to pay its fees, the use of “divisive and inciting contents from the social media” among others.
According to Kawu, Daar Communications has over the years turned itself into a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run.
“In their relationship with the NBC, Daar communications carry on as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the commission.
“They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due and its broadcast is patently partisan and one-sided and deliberately inciting and heating up the polity.
“The management of the Company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.”
The D-G said on June 6, AIT and Raypower embarked on the use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts, and media propaganda against the government and the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria.
“Recently, NBC monitoring reports on AIT and Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of Kakaaki, tagged, ‘Kakaaki Social’ where inciting comments like, ‘Nigeria is cursed,’ ‘we declare independent state of Niger Delta’, ‘Nigeria irritates me’, ‘this country is gradually Islamising’ and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast Code.
“Consequently, after several meetings with the management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning.
“The NBC, today June 6, 2019 took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“This decision is based on the provisions of Section 10 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which states that where in the opinion of the commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest.
“NBC Act also states that where there is willful or repeated failure to operate
substantially as set forth in the licence.
“Where there is wilful or repeated violation or wilful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Act or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Where there is violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission and where a provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code has been seriously breached. And the shut down order is until further notice.”
Meanwhile, the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of stifling free speech by working to shut down African Independent Television and Raypower FM.
He made the allegations while speaking to newsmen at a press conference in the company’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
Dokpesi said, “I believe very strongly that under the leadership of the current Director General of the NBC (Is’haq Kawu), press freedom has been greatly eroded. If this was not protected by the President at the top, is it possible that his body language is being interpreted?
“I have it on strict authority and very assured information that the highest echelons of government, the Presidency, queried and challenged the NBC that they were not doing their jobs: ‘How on earth could they be hearing and seeing on AIT what they termed hate speech?’
“Any criticism of this government is hate speech. The NBC is acting under the authority of the President and Commander-in-Chief. The licensing fees in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world. There is no country in the world where you have this type of exploitative fees. I have appealed for a reduction because the payments cannot be sustained by private broadcasters in Nigeria.
“This economy has plummeted. This government has called this organisation unprintable names which has deterred several advertisers from patronising AIT. I sought an audience with the NBC DG. I called, sent letters and sent text messages to him, but he refused. In spite of the fact that we have to run generators 24-hours of the day, I remain committed to keeping the spirit of broadcasting alive.”