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NLC wants review of NBC’s operating license amid ban on some broadcast media



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has requested that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) reconsider the cost of operating licenses for broadcast organizations in the nation.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba made the request in a statement, issued on Wednesday, titled, “Withdrawal Of The Licenses Of Media Houses — A Slippery Road To Press Emasculation.’

This came days after the NBC announced the cancellation of the broadcast licenses for more than 50 radio and television stations across the nation.

The stations’ refusal to renew their licenses served as the basis for the NBC’s decision.

Wabba, however, said in his statement that the decision overlooked economic difficulties that had harmed the stations’ operations and argued that the stations did not consciously choose not to renew their licenses.

“In defence of the media, democratic and economic rights of Nigerians, we call on the NBC to rescind this decision to withdraw the operating licenses of the affected 53 media houses,” he said.

“In light of our foregoing concerns, we urge that the media operating licence be reviewed downwards as information dissemination is a social service.”

Read also:NLC demands 50% increase in workers’ salaries

The NLC President acknowledged that the NBC had a regulatory duty in the broadcast industry but stressed that the withdrawal of the licences “is a little too drastic, dramatic, draconian, and debilitating not only for the affected media houses but also for their staff and indeed millions of Nigerians who follow programs from the affected media houses”.

He further made a case for broadcast stations across the country, disclosing the struggle to run businesses amidst an ailing economy.

“Many media houses just like most businesses in Nigeria suffer the double jeopardy of escalating business costs and plummeting revenues.

“Largely to blame for this sad state of affairs is government which mismanagement of the economy has ensured that a litre of diesel is now knocking at the borderline of N1000. To compound the situation is the epileptic supply of electricity with the national grid collapsing intermittently for the umpteenth time in recent months.

“In addition to the soaring and scary rising energy costs which hit electronic media houses hardest given that they must always be on air whether it makes economic sense or not, there are salaries to pay. maintenance services, and sundry basic operating costs to keep the media houses running and serving their listening and viewing public.

“Amidst these operational suffocations, how does the NBC expect the media houses to generate the money to renew their operating licenses? Indeed, Nigeria’s media houses should be eulogized for resilience, and tenacity in the face of prevailing economic blizzards,” Wabba pointed out.

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