The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), weekend, berated the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the revocation of operating licences of Silverbird and Africa Independent Television, among others, over debts.
NBC had announced the revocation of broadcast licences of Silverbird TV, AIT, Raypower FM, Rhythm FM, amongst others, over indebtedness.
HURIWA, in a release by its national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, stated that, “The fact is that for many people today the media are the main source of their knowledge and entertainment and are part of the very structure of their lives.
“The government of president Muhammadu Buhari lacks transparency and accountability. The government’s financial policies are opaque and because there is no intension to infuse transparency and accountability as the core modus operandi and the fundamental objectives of the current administration, therefore the only way to to hide the truth is to shut out the real, unbiased, and raw information about government financial transactions and the way to do that is to attack the media and so it is clear that this decision has been long in coming because the minister of information, Mr Lai Mohammed, has always told Nigerians about the plot of government to clamp down on independent media.
“Not long ago, a lot of bills emanated at the National Assembly aimed at whittling down the powers of independent media but the voice of the people defeated this sinister plot.”
The agency said the revocation was a manifestation of ‘dictatorship and tyranny’ is a part of the Buhari administration.
It stated further, “There are processes and mechanism of arbitration to sort out these administrative issues rather than revoke operational licences of media houses that provide employments to thousands of Nigerians in this period of economic austerity.
“This decision is provocative and undemocratic. By the way, does government pay money for the public relations stories by way of press statements that these broadcasting stations air for this same government?
“So why the use of the sledge hammer to kill off independent voices in the media in a bid to kill off their willpower to exercise their functions a the conscience of the nation as stipulated under section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria?
“We ask the government to revoke the revocation of these licences now and invite these stations to resolve the commercial disputes the government regulatory body have with them. Government should not be the creator of unemployment.”