There’s agenda to undermine radio stations in North – Group

By Samuel Aruwan

A group, Friend of Free Media (FFM), yesterday raised an alarm that there is agenda to undermine radio stations in the North.
It said radio stations in the region had been subjected to series of regulatory sanctions with political undertones to weaken expression of divergent opinions, with radio being leading medium of disseminating and accessing information.
Its national chairman, Sir Jalal Falal, said in a statement that: “On the regional horizon, it has come to glare that some regulatory bodies are being manipulated to suppress media freedom, particularly in the North, contrary to several constitutional and human rights provisions which ought to safeguard against these undemocratic and primitive attacks by the regulatory agencies against the media (particularly in the North), as the country heads toward the 2015 general elections.”
Continuing, he said: “The pressure being mounted on Northern media includes the trumping up of episodic, unpredictable and very often arbitrary and superfluous charges based on unqualified accusations that result to imposition of sanctions with unjustified penalties and exorbitant fines by the commission on Northern media which is mostly Radio. These abracadabra fines are based on absurdities as “uncorroborated statements.
“Without fear of contradiction, unequivocally states that; there exists a deliberate ploy to undermine electronic media and particularly radio in the North. Why? We want to make it emphatically clear, that any attempt to continue with this ‘Northern Media Suppression Agenda’ will face serious resistance in all forms. We would not sit back and watch our people being denied expression as the region’s media channels are squeezed and pulled down.
“FFM hereby calls on the leadership of this country to caution the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over its visible suppression of Northern media with disregard to equity, justice and respect for Press and Human rights as failure to check this will be a clear indicator of the beginning of a return to our past experiences, under military dictatorship.”
All attempts to reach officials of NBC in their Kaduna Zonal office were unsuccessful as at the time of this report.