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NBC withdraws human rights radio license for violating broadcast rule

By Barakat Odegbola

The National Broadcasting Commission NBC has suspended the operational license of Human Rights Radio, known as ‘Berekete FM’ in Abuja, for violating the broadcasting rules and recurring unprofessional conduct.

The regulatory agency said the suspension which is billed to take effect on May 31 at 12 noon, is in line with provisions in section 15.5 subsection 2 of the broadcasting code.

As stated, the order shall however last 30 days during which it is expected that the station will put its house in order and attune itself for responsive, professional, and responsible broadcasting.

The agency made this known to newsmen through a statement issued on Thursday after a meeting between NBC management and the owner, and the host of a programme on the radio station, Berekete Family Show, Ahmed Isah.

The statement revealed that the station shall pay a re-commencement fee of N5 million as provided for in section 15.5.1 of the broadcasting code at the end of the suspension period.

The statement further reads, “The Commission states, however, that the action of the broadcaster is in clear violations of the Broadcasting Code and a betrayal of the confidence reposed on him by the people and Government of Nigeria on whose behalf he holds the radio license in trust.

“Section of the Broadcasting Code provides 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 organizations shall recognize that they exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges, and needs of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, friends, or supporters.

“It is important to state that the Commission has 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 on the station. It is 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.

“The Commission has therefore in line with the sanction provisions in 15.5.2 of the Broadcasting Code, ordered the suspension of the license of the broadcaster until the broadcaster commits to ethical and professional broadcasting. The suspension order is effective Monday the 31st of May 2021, at 12.00 am.

“The NBC appreciates the popularity of the station and the fact that it has in many cases tuned its programming to the yearnings of the people. The Commission however has a sacred duty to promote decency, professionalism, and respect for the dignity of all citizens by all Broadcasters in Nigeria.”

It would be recalled that Isah physically assaulted an interviewee who was invited to his program. An act that was unprofessional and widely condemned.



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