Journalist union urges Nigeria to rescind revocation of licenses of 52 media outlets
A trade union representing workers in the arts and media industries in Nigeria has appealed to the country’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to rescind its earlier decision to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations.
Nigeria’s broadcasting regulator on Friday (19 August) announced it will revoke the licenses of 52 media organizations, including 20 state government media outlets, over unpaid fees. The affected stations owe the commission a combined $6.2 million, the commission said. In a press release, the NBC said it published a list of media companies owing license fees in May and gave the organizations a grace period to pay the debt and avoid having licenses revoked. Those who had still not paid were ordered to shut down operations in the next 24 hours.
But Mr Akpausoh Akpausoh, General Secretary of the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU) described the action by the NBC as ”untimely.” He noted that ”information is the oxygen of democracy. This truism has stood the test of time and in all climes. Therefore, Nigeria cannot be an exception.“ Meanwhile, also Nigeria Union of Journalists described the move as “hasty” and “ill-advised.” In a statement, the union president, Chris Isiguzo, said the broadcasting commission had failed to take account of the economic reality in Nigeria and noted that some unpaid fees dated back to 2015.
Nigeria ranks 129 out of 180 countries and regions on the World Press Freedom Index, where 1 has the best media conditions. Reporters Without Borders, which compiles the list, notes that the country has a large number of media outlets but “very few are in good economic health.”