The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) of Friday chided the federal government over the shutdown of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio. The Congress expressed that it is disturbed by the sudden suspension of the broadcast licences of DAAR Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio.
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement on Friday in Abuja remarked that the Organised Labour is particularly worried that the suspension was issued as a result of the alleged inability of the owners of the broadcast stations to pay up licence renewal fees and continued broadcast of views and reports considered to be detrimental to certain interests.
Wabba argued that in a democratic environment, these allegations should not ultimately attract such noxious sanctions that circumscribe both the broadcast rights of the services and the fundamental rights of the public to access news and information.
The NLC President protested that “more worrisome is the negative impact of this action on job creation and sustenance in the face of growing insecurity directly traced to existing high unemployment in the country.”
The NLC argued that “part of the positive attributes of democracy is the fact that there are legal options constitutionally established to resolve grievances. The judiciary should have been approached if anyone, including government or its agencies, feels aggrieved by the actions of corporate or individual citizens.”
Wabba declared that “the Congress views the suspension of these licenses as premeditated attacks on the media ultimately aimed at circumscribing our collective freedom. This is unacceptable in its entirety and we demand that the suspension be lifted immediately.”
NLC, therefore, urged the federal government to caution all its agencies and commissions against taking any action(s) that contravenes democratic standards. “The commission should approach the judiciary rather than take unilateral actions that eventually affect the rights of the citizens to information and knowledge,” NLC declared.