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NBC suspends licence of Human Rights Radio

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the licence of Human Rights Radio until the station commits to ethical and professional broadcasting.

The acting Director-General of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, in a statement, on Thursday, in Abuja, explained that the suspension order would take effective on Monday (May 31, 2021) at 12 a.m.

Idachaba further said the order would last for 30 days, during which it was expected that the broadcaster would put its house in order and attune itself to responsive, professional and responsible broadcasting.

The acting director-general also disclosed that the station would pay a recommencement fee of N5 million, as provided for in Section 15.5.1 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

He stated that the commission had over the years advised, cautioned, warned and fined the station over repeated cases of outright abuse, denigrating remarks, intimidation and flagrant abuse of ethics of fairness, balance and fair hearing.

He said it was also on record that the commission had conducted several training and retraining programmes for the station and the host of the Brekete Family programme, especially.

Idachaba disclosed that NBC met with Mr Ahmed Isah, the Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights Radio and popular host of Brekete family programme, on Tuesday, (May 26).

He stated that the meeting afforded Isah the opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to the recent unfortunate incident at his radio station, “where rather than promoting human rights and human dignity, a citizen who was invited to the programmme was physically assaulted by the broadcaster.”

“NBC has reviewed the events and notes the unreserved apologies and regrets expressed by the broadcaster,” he said.

Idachaba noted that the action of the broadcaster was in clear violations of the broadcasting code and a betrayal of the confidence reposed in him by the people and Government of Nigeria on whose behalf he held the radio licence in trust.

Acccording to him, Section 0.1.1.2.1 of the broadcasting commission provided in the Social Objectives of Broadcasting that broadcasting shall: “Promote generally accepted social values and norms, especially, civic and social responsibilities; and encourage respect for the dignity of man.”

“It also provides that broadcasting organisations shall recognise that they exercise freedom of expression as agents of society.

“Not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, friends or supporters,” Idachaba said.

David Abakpa

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