NBC shuts down AIT – The Director General of the NBC, Modibbo Kawu stated this Thursday evening while briefing journalists in Abuja that NBC has suspended the license of Daar Communications PLC, owners of African Independent Television AIT and Ray Power FM.
During a press briefing in Abuja, NBC Director-General, Dr Modibbo Kawu, stated that the Daar Communication Limited’s media houses’ shutdown is until further notice.
According to NBC, the offences of AIT and Ray Power owned by Daar Communications limited includes 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.
The Director General of the NBC, Dr. Modibbo Kawu said the decision was taken for the persistent violation of 2004 broadcasting Code, following persistent warning to the company to tow the line of caution.
He said Daar communications have turned themselves into a bad example of what a broadcast station should be. and also noted that the decision was not taken on partisan consideration.
Below is the statement from NBC on the shutdown of AIT and Ray Power FM indefinitely;
“Following monitoring reports and complaints from concerned Nigerians about the broadcast contents of Daar Communications Plc’s AIT/Raypower broadcast stations, the NBC have over the last 2 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 said.
“In one of our meetings, held on 2nd June, 2017, the Commission expressed its disappointment with the 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.
“Again, 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.
“Instead of making amends, the management of Daar Communications Plc resorted to the use of media propaganda against the regulator. Even the letters from the NBC were posted on social media platforms,” he said.
“Needless to state that Daar Communications have over the years turned themselves 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.
“Its broadcast is patently partisan and one sided and deliberately inciting and heating 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.
“Today the 6th of June, 2019, AIT/Rapower embarked on 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.
“Consequently, after several meetings with management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning. 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
“The SHUT DOWN order is until further notice.” Kawu said
Earlier today, the chairman of the stations, Raymond Dokpesi, held a press conference where he accused President Buhari of using the NBC to victimize him.
“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,” Dokpesi said at the press conference
Recall that Kaakaki on AIT had announced plans to boycott airing in protest against the threat as demanded by fans of the show. According to the organizers of the show, their press freedom is being infringed upon.