• Business - Companies
  • Updated: August 24, 2022

NLC Urges NBC To Slow Down Review Of Media Operating Licences

Following the recently withdrawn operating licences of 52 media houses especially television and radio media houses by the National Broadcasting Commission, (NBC) for not renewing their licences, the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) has called for a downward review of media operating licenses in line with the socio-economic realities in the country.

According to a statement by NLC President Ayuba Wabba, the body commended NBC for repealing the withdrawal and permitting the affected media houses to continue to operate.

The statement reads, “It was with disbelief that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) received the news of the withdrawal of the licences of 52 media houses including both electronic television and radio media houses.

"The reason given by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was that the affected media houses failed to pay for their licence renewal.

“While we understand that the NBC has a regulatory duty to ensure rules keeping, we believe that the action taken by the NBC was a little too drastic, dramatic, draconian, and debilitating not only for the affected media houses but also for their staff and indeed millions of Nigerians who follow programs from the affected media houses.

“The first natural instinct to the withdrawal of the operating licence by the NBC is the idea that the affected media houses did not deliberately avoid paying for their operating licences. Such would be akin to cutting so close to the bone.

"However, the media houses’ reasons for not renewing their lincences could be attributed to the deteriorating economic conditions in Nigeria.

“This is understandable given the severe stress and strain that businesses in Nigeria have been subjected to owing to the fallout of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, the ongoing disruption in global and domestic energy supply, the foreign exchange volatilities, and the associated hyper-inflation.

“Many media houses just like most businesses in Nigeria suffer the double jeopardy of escalating business costs and plummeting revenues.

"Largely to blame for this sad state of affairs is the government whose mismanagement of the economy has ensured that a litre of diesel is now knocking at the borderline of N1000.

“In addition to the soaring and scary rising energy costs which hit electronic media houses hardest given that they must always be on air whether it makes economic sense or not, there are salaries to pay, maintenance services, and sundry basic operating costs to keep the media houses running and serving their listening and viewing public.

“Amidst these operational suffocations, how does the NBC expect the media houses to generate the money to renew their operating licenses? Indeed, Nigeria’s media houses should be eulogized for resilience, and tenacity in the face of prevailing economic blizzards.

“The action of the NBC also smacked of insensitivity to the welfare of the staff of the media houses which operations are being shut down. It is unthinkable that in the middle of very traumatic economic realities, the government would be thinking of flinging many Nigerians into the unemployment market.

“Well, this is not new. A few days ago, the Nigeria Governors Forum made a case for the mass sack of Nigerians in government employment.

"The unsolicited advice which had been robustly deflated by the NLC reveals a very embarrassing underbelly in the thinking of those commanding the reins of power in Nigeria today – crass insensitivity.

"This is very sad and unfortunate.

“In defence of the media, democratic and economic rights of Nigerians, we had called on the NBC to rescind this decision to withdraw the operating licenses of the affected 53 media houses.

"In light of our foregoing concerns, we urge that the media operating licence be reviewed downwards as information dissemination is a social service.

"Albeit, we received with some relief new reasoning by the NBC to allow the affected media houses to continue to operate. This is commendable. Yet, our concerns conveyed in the foregoing subsist.”


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