Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as totally and completely unacceptable the decision by the National broadcasting commission to revoke the operation licenses of some notable broadcasting stations in Nigeria on the claim that they are indebted to the National Broadcasting Corporation.
The NBC had on Friday announced the withdrawal of the broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM, Rhythm FM and some other news broadcasting outlets.
The Director General Malam Balarabe Ilelah, who disclosed said their licences were revoked due to their failure to renew their broadcast licences.
However, HURIWA in a statement on Friday said the decision was predetermined, authored, and unleashed directly from the office of Mr. President and targeted at clipping the wings of independent voices.
“So this is just a manifestation of dictatorship and tyranny because if a commercial dispute should arise regarding payments of licencing fees or renewal fees, there are processes and mechanism of arbitration to sort out these administrative issues rather than revoke operational licenses of media houses that provide employments to thousands of Nigerians in this period of economic austerity.
“This decision is provocative and undemocratic. By the way, does the government pay money for the public relations stories by way of press statements that these broadcasting stations air for this same government? So why the use of a sledge hammer to kill off independent voices in the media in bid to kill off their willpower to exercise their functions as conscience of the nation as stipulated under section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria?
“We ask the government to revoke the revocation of these licenses now and invite these stations to resolve the commercial disputes the government regulatory body has with them. Government should not be the creator of unemployment.