Media NGOs Condemn Suspension of Daar Communications Licence

Three media sector non-governmental organizations today condemned yesterday’s suspension by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of the broadcast license of Daar Communications Limited, owners of the African Independent Television (AIT), Ray Power FM radio and Faaji FM radio, describing the Commission’s action as unwarranted, unjust, and a violation of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom.

In their joint statement in Lagos signed by Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA); Mr. Lanre Arogundade, Director of the International Press Centre (IPC); and Mr. Richard Akinnola, Director of the Media Law Centre (MLC), the organizations accused the NBC of constituting itself into the accuser of Daar Communications, the prosecutor and the judge, in violation of the rules of natural justice and the right to fair hearing.

The organizations contended that even if the NBC was correct in its claim that the airing of certain content in a single program on AIT was wrong, that could not justify the closing down of the entire station and other sister radio stations which had not been accused of any wrongdoing.

They called on the NBC to immediately reverse its decision by lifting the suspension of the broadcast license of Daar Commission, saying if it failed to do so within one week, they would approach the court to enforce their right to receive information and ideas through the media under section 39 of the Constitution.