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For the first time in donkey years, it was utterly shocking to learn that the media license of a broadcasting station, DAAR Communications, was suspended indefinitely by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). In a media release strangely broadcasted via the Aso Rock Twitter handle yesterday, 6th June, 2019, the Nigerian media and political space has gone haywire with opinions supporting and countering the controversial move.

One of the most disturbing facts of this development is finding out about this suspension through the media channel of the presidency rather than from the NBC itself. One is immediately reminded of the paradox of the ‘hand of Esau and voice of Jacob’ with this scenario. Stooges at the seat of government in Aso Rock definitely have a hand in how this matter swung. Another more interesting twist is learning that the NBC DG, Mallam Karu, is not only being investigated for a N25 billion fraud by the ICPC but is also deeply partisan as he was one of those who contested for APC gubernatorial ticket in Kwara State in 2018.

It is saddening that the nation’s administrative institutions have devolved into a free-for-all for political jobbers. The objectivity of the NBC cannot be guaranteed as long as a partisan element heads it.

One of the most potent tools of checking and balancing politics and democracy is the media; not the rubber stamp media which politicians wants us all to be. In fact, most of the time, the media present in a democratic country has to be so versatile that it becomes not only the most lucid critic of the government in power but also the generators of free PR anytime government engages in works of goodwill. The matter of shutting down social media for hate speech, or the internet in general, has unfortunately been sampled by the current administration of President Buhari in the past and that makes this choke-hold on the media a little less surprising but unacceptable still.

It is, therefore, such a shame for the Federal Government and the criticism-intolerant machinery of the APC to hide behind the so-called breach of the broadcasting code. Where is the supremacy of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in all of these? Where is the freedom of speech and expression which is a fundamental human right of the Nigerian people? Where is the freedom of the press? How can a law which is only meant to guide humans be the enslaver of the people who wrote it? So many questions are in need of answers – and until this is done, the censorship of media channels will remain illegal and totally despotic.

To buttress the essence of the matter, it is no accident that before a country climbs the last rung of a despotic rule, the last impediment which its corrupted ruling elite removes before slipping is the media. It is not by chance that this move seems a little more calculated and targeted at the opposition than normal. The indefinite suspension of the broadcast license of DAAR Communications, owners of AIT Television and RayPower FM, is the beginning of a no-holds-barred despotic regime of this administration’s second term in office.

Last year, when Donald Trump moved to revoke the White House access permit of CNN, other media channels and even Fox News, a conservative media channel, protested against it. In the dire days when the APC rose to prominence and booted out the PDP from power, the neutrality of the NBC was never in question. This is undoubtedly the time for the people and all media organisations to band together and protest this move by the NBC and Aso Rock, else it just might be the beginning of the silencing of the people’s voice.




Featured image source: Headline News Nigeria

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This article was first published on 7th June 2019


Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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