…NBC, IPI, BON, NUJ want closure reversed
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and other broadcast industry stakeholders, including journalists’ professional associations, have condemned the closure of some broadcast stations by the Zamfara State government.
The state government had on Saturday shut some stations for covering a political event organised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state capital, Gusau.
the announcement on the state radio station said the order affects Radio Nigeria’s Pride FM, NTA, Gamji Television, Vision FM, and Al’Umma TV.
Dosara said the media houses were shut down because violated their professional ethics by attending a rally organized by the opposition PDP in the state which was earlier banned by the state government for security reasons.
He said, “The state government has suspended all political activities in the state due to security challenges but the PDP ignored the order and held a rally in Gusau, the state capital where one person was killed and 18 others were injured.
In view of this, the four media houses are hereby closed down with immediate effect. The government has directed the security agents to arrest any staff of the affected stations who tries to go into the stations to perform any duty”
Although the state Security Council headed by governor Bello Muhammad Mutawalle, claimed it did that based on security reasons, NBC and other stakeholders said it lacked the power to do so.
NBC, which is the federal government agency in charge of regulations of broadcast media in the country, said the shutdown of operations of some of its licensees by the Zamfara state government is illegal.
The agency in a statement on Sunday signed by its Director General Balarabe Shehu Ilelah urged the state government to hasten to reverse the closure and apologise to the citizens of the state.
“The NBC has clearly notified the state government of the gravity of the illegality and requested it to expeditiously reverse the directive and apologise to the people of the state,” Ilelah said.
The NBC boss also said the commission would resist any attempt to cause a breach of law and order through the misuse of broadcast media before, during, and after the 2023 elections.
Similarly, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the action, calling it an “embarrassing error” by the state government.
NUJ’s national secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, in a statement urged the state to immediately rescind the decision to shut down the media organisations.
“For a state government to arbitrarily override a section of the Nigerian Constitution and the NBC code, in a democracy like ours, which recognises the role of the mass media, and freedom of expression for its citizens speaks volumes of the level of impunity the country has descended into,” Leman said.
Also, the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in a statement signed by its executive secretary Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose said the Zamfara state government had carried its power too far by shutting some broadcast stations in the state.
Bamgbose condemned the closure and called for its reversal with immediate effect.