Nigeria: Court Orders NBC to Reopen Radio Station

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The Federal High Court, Akure, last week gave an ex-parte order authorising the re-opening of a private station, Adaba 88.9FM, located in Akure, Ondo State, barely 24 hours after the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered it to go off air.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State commended the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the closure, adding that the station had remained an embarrassment to broadcast journalism in Nigeria .

The NBC had Monday ordered the suspension of transmission by the radio station following its failure to pay the N500,000 fine imposed on it following its alleged unethical practices especially on the coverage of the governorship rerun in Ekiti State.

The court in an ex parte order granted by the Presiding Judge, Justice C. Okeke, which allowed the organisation to enforce its fundamental rights, directed all the parties to the suit to maintain status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice pending before the court.

Ruling on the motion filed by Bashiru Ramoni on behalf of the station, the court granted it leave to enforce its fundamental human right as entrenched in the 1999 constitution. Ramoni had in the motion asked the court to restore the broadcasting right of the station to it saying the NBC breached its constitutional right to fair hearing, freedom against discrimination and freedom of expression.

Particularly, the FM station said the fine imposed by the NBC without the steps provided for in the ethics codes of the agency breached section 36 of the 1999 constitution and as such it was unlawful, null and void and unconstitutional.

Though one of the management staff of the FM station said with the order of the court, it would begin broadcasting last week. PDP in a statement said it was "a welcome development for the peace-loving people of Ekiti State that the station was closed down and we urge the NBC not to hesitate to withdraw its license to serve as deterrent to other media organizations that have thrown the ethics of journalism to the dogs." While calling on the NBC to be cautious in granting operation licenses, the PDP said "antecedents of would be proprietors should be subjected to thorough scrutiny."

(source : This Day)