The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), yesterday, suspended broadcast licence of Daar Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power over alleged breach of Broadcasting Code.
Director general of NBC, Ishaq Moddibo Kawu announced the indefinite suspension at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja.
Kawu said the decision was taken, following willful or repeat violation of the Broadcasting Code by the station.
“The NBC, today 6th June, 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,” he said.
While explaining the rationale behind the disciplinary action, Kawu said the Commission responded to complaints from concerned Nigerians about the broadcast contents of Daar Communications Plc’s AIT/Raypower broadcast stations.
He also said that NBC had in the last two years summoned management staff of Daar Communications over way and manner hate speech, divisive and inciting comments are applied in discussion of national issues in breach of the provisions of the NBC Act and Broadcast Code.
According to him, the regulator and a licencee have a relationship, defined by the code, it is a straight and narrow path that must be worked, noting that no licencee is bigger than, the regulator.
“Daar Communications have over the years behaved as if they are bigger than the regulator.
“The NBC have over the last two years summoned on several occasions management of the company to address issues regarding the operations of AIT/Raypower with the company, particularly, Political Platform and Kakaaki aired on AIT,” he stated.
According to Kawu, on 15th August, 2017, it became imperative to invite the company for yet another meeting on almost same issues.
“Furthermore, while addressing another meeting on 7th February, 2018 we highlighted issues of concern to the Commission which indicated that the company had been breaching the provisions of Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 of the broadcast Code. The company’s delegates in their response promised to abate the breaches and comply with the law.
“However, on October 18, 2018, the Commission was disturbed with the manner in which social media issues became part of the mainstream media unedited on AIT/Raypower, and was constrained to issue a generic letter to all broadcast stations on the need to exercise caution in the use of user generated content from the social media knowing how volatile and misleading the social media has become. The management of Daar Communication Plc thereafter took to the social media to display our official correspondences, “ he said.
He stated further, “The Commission’s monitoring reports on AIT/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. We were therefore constrained to issue Daar Communication letters of warning dated May 27th, 2019.”
Kawu however expressed dissatisfaction with management of Daar Communications, noting that instead of making amends, Daar Communications Plc resorted to the use of media propaganda against the regulator, adding that even the letters from the NBC were posted on social media platforms.
Kawu said Daar Communications has turned themselves into a bad example of how a broadcast station should not be run.
“Content of Daar Communications is patently partisan, one-sided, that they are using the channel to fight personal battle, which is contrary to the Broadcasting Code.
“After several meetings with management of Daar Communications and several warnings, NBC took a position to suspend licence of the broadcasting station. This is in line with Section 10 of the 3rd schedule of the NBC Act,” Kawu stated.
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