It won’t stand ! is thr buzz word, as many condemn in very strong terms the indefinite suspension of Ait,Raypower and Faaji fm licences.
(1).. It runs contrary to the ideals of free speech and the fine tenets of press freedom. This is a case of Executive highhandedness and it paints our dear country in the darkest tar of dictatorship.
The Fourth Estate of the Realm remains the watchdog of society and any attempt to gag it in any guise is an affront on democracy and the people. The NBC must and should rescind this ignoble and despicable decision.
(2). NBC action is a draconian forms of regulation, being out of tune with democratic principles.It is basically absence of media freedom, independence and the stifling of operations of media outfits which are preforming their roles as the watchdog of the Nigerian society.
(3).. Muzzling the media and throwing thousands of Nigerians into the already saturated labour market should not be the trophy for good corporate governance of a regulator; workers and dependants will go without food, and surely lack occasioned by the closure. (4).. . Shutting down stations and withdrawing licences are too extreme in the circumstance. There must be humane and saner ways to resolve disputes bordering on violation of the Broadcasting rules.
(5).. The NBC has told us why it shutdown the AIT. It used the NBC’s enabling law section 10 of 2004 which says it can do such ” where in the opinion of the commission, the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest” in the opinion means in the opinion of the DG which would tally with that of his employer, the president. It is prejudicial and a bad law. Opinions are not necessarily facts.
(6) Its argument that the AIT used its prog, ‘ Kakaaki Social’ to broadcast opinions hostile to the FG and therefore, hostile to national interest, is fallacious and preposterous. See their examples, ‘Nigeria is cursed’ ‘ Nigeria irritates me’ ‘ Nigeria is Islamizing’. Do they mean if a citizen says ” too much suffering I am tired of this Buhari’s government’ it is an expression against national interest or expression of frustration protected by free speech? Even self determination is protected.
(7)..But let’s look at the grundnorm which is the 1999 constitution as amended. Chapter 4 Section 39 (1) which says ” every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference” (2) says every person the right to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions subject to laws enacted by the National Assembly”
The examples provided by NBC did not satisfy any elements of a breach, it didn’t prove such dissemination and or expression of opinions are against national interest. From its argument it is clear the NBC characterized the hostile opinions against the FG as against national interest.
Therefore, if the examples provided in the NBC statement are protected by Section 39(1) (2) and that when case laws, bye laws, enabling laws conflict with the grundnorm, the latter prevails, then the closure is illegal, null and void
(8)..NBC is NOT a court of Law. NBC shutdown of a mass media group – Daar Communication, operator of AIT/RayPower is unconstitutional, an affront on Free Speech and fascist.
It is discretion at the extreme.