AIT Shutdown: Court Orders Maintenance Of Status Quo

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has demanded the lifting of the ban on the operating license of DAAR Communication Plc, Concise News reports.

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Daar Communication owns the Africa Independent Television (AIT) Raypower, and Faaji FM stations.

This online news medium understands that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had on Thursday revoked the license over what it described as breaching of the country’s broadcast laws.

However, the NGE in a statement on Friday, described the move as  “case of Executive highhandedness” as it “it paints our dear country in the darkest tar of dictatorship.”

“The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) hereby condemns in very strong terms the indefinite suspension of the licenses of the African Independent Television, AIT, Ray Power by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC),” the statement noted.

“The Guild demands in clear terms the revocation of the suspension order as 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.

“The Guild strongly believes the NBC action is a draconian form of regulation, being out of tune with democratic principles.”

It said “The Guild is concerned about the violation of the constitutional rights of DAAR Communications and the absence of media freedom, independence and the stifling of operations of media outfits which are performing their roles as the watchdog of the Nigerian society.

“The NGE condemns in strong terms the barbaric crackdown on the broadcast outfit and demands the immediate cessation of this atrocious repression and excessive show of power by the NBC, whose duty is to regulate and not kill the media.

“Muzzling the media and throwing thousands of Nigerians into the already saturated labor market should not be the trophy for good corporate governance of a regulator; it is something to be ashamed of and NBC should be ashamed at its action in a fledgeling democracy in the 21st Century.

“The Guild is strongly of the opinion that the NBC, in exercising its regulatory powers, should concentrate on implementing policies that will position Nigeria’s broadcasting to compete in the global spheres, rather than engage in witch-hunting and unnecessary show of excessive force.”

This is as it called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter and save the country’s press.