Following a meeting of media stakeholders, the National Broadcasting Commission has agreed to fully suspend the revocation of the broadcast licence of DAAR Communications.
The decision was reached at a meeting in Abuja.
In a statement released after the meeting, Nduka Obaigbena, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, THISDAY/ARISE Group, who is also the president of Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), said the NBC was concerned with the non-censoring of contents being used on Africa Independent Television and RayPower while adding that the channel refused to adhere to repeated warnings.
Obaigbena said, “The NBC also raised concerns about the non-adherence of the DAAR Communications group (AIT/Ray Power) to the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, despite repeated interactions on same; the NBC then cited lack of editorial balance by DAAR Communications as well as the lingering issue of non-payment of national network license fees by DAAR Communications.”
Responding to the allegations by the NBC, DAAR Communications Plc. defended its position saying, “it gives its team freedom to make editorial commentary on issues of the day relying on Section 39 of the Nigerian Constitution guaranteeing freedom of Expression, freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas without interference.”
At the end of the meeting, both parties agreed to bury the hatchet and focus on professional practice guided by ethics and guidelines of the profession.
Obaigbena noted, “DAAR Communications Plc. will work out a new realistic payment plan with the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and ensure prompt payments in accordance with the new plan.
“DAAR Communications Plc. will appoint an Ombudsman to ensure balance in its news coverage especially political commentary; it will also take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media outlets;
“The NBC will immediately lift the suspension of the broadcast license of DAAR Communications Plc and DAAR Communications Plc. will withdraw its case in court, against the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).”
The meeting had in attendance Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, Director General & CEO, NBC; High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Founder and Chairman Emeritus, DAAR Communications Plc; Raymond Dokpesi, jnr, Chairman of the Board, DAAR Communications PLC.
Others at the meeting were Mr. Tony Akiotu, GMD, DAAR Communications Plc; Mrs Tosin Dokpesi , MD, AIT; Barrister Donatus Anopuo – Company Secretary DAAR Communications PLC; Uncle Sam Amuka, Publisher, Vanguard Group; Mallam Ismaila Isa, Patron NPAN and Nduka Obaigbena, President NPAN and President NPO.