RATTAWU faults NBC’s revocation of broadcast stations’ licences
The Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) has criticised the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the revocation of licenses of 52 broadcast stations.
In a statement on Sunday, Akpausoh Akpausoh, the union’s general secretary, said the timing of the revocation was not auspicious enough, citing the forthcoming elections and insecurity bedevilling the country.
“Therefore, revoking the licenses of 52 stations and directing their total shutdown implies limiting the possibility of voter education and other electioneering activities.
” This portends great danger and disservice to the nation,” he said.
On Friday, NBC revoked the licenses of the AIT/Ray Power FM (DAAR Communication L.td., Silverbird TV Network and 50 other stations over N2.6 billion debts.
Admitting that the commission had the constitutional right to revoke licences, Mr Akpausoh described NBC’s action as” untimely,” noting that information was the oxygen of democracy.
“However, the prevailing climate makes such an action untimely and fraught with grave consequences.
“This is because most of these stations were yet to recover from the COVID-19 shock,” he said.
Mr Akpausoh also recalled that these stations were brave enough to sustain their services during the lockdown.
He said that RATTAWU had earlier made a case that the broadcast stations be given special COVID-19 palliative, considering their societal roles.
“From the foregoing, it is needless to say that the broadcast environment is not healthy and friendly.
“Therefore, decisions that affect the broadcast environment should be taken with absolute guidance and consideration.
“The action of NBC is unilateral. It is not a product of stakeholders of the broadcast industry. Therefore, it stands to be half clever,” he said.
The general secretary said that lack of payment of license fees could never be tantamount to a threat to national security.
He stated,” rather, the contents of the broadcast stations were what would constitute threats to national security.”
Mr Akpausoh also said the union was worried about the multiplier effects that the action of NBC would have on the workers.
“Therefore, any government organisation that means well for citizens will not do anything that will compound the situation.
“It is on the strength of the foregoing that RATTAWU, while urging the indebted stations to do the needful, also frowns at the action of NBC.
“RATTAWU, therefore, calls on NBC to call a stakeholders meeting where the issues would be discussed,” he said.
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