NBC Withdraws Suspension Notice On DAAR Communications

 

The National Broadcasting Commission has withdrawn the suspension notice it issued to DAAR Communications on June 7, 2019.

The NBC had suspended the operating license of DAAR Communications PLC following allegations of its inability to pay the license renewal fees and hate speeches, among other things.

While the commission says it will continue to clamp down on licensees who choose to pay what they deem fit as their licensing fees, it says its decision is based on an agreement reached by both parties in court.

Part of the agreement is that DAAR Communications will take full responsibility of the use of content sourced from social media.

Another is that the broadcaster will submit a proposal for the payment of its outstanding fees.

Daar Communications Plc is the parent company of Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Ray Power 100.5 FM (in Abuja and Lagos)

PDP Hails Court Order On DAAR Communications Suspension

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has hailed the order of a Federal High Court in the case of DAAR communications and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), which asked that the parties should maintain status quo pending a hearing on June 13, 2019.

The PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday commended the Judiciary for upholding justice and the tenets of democracy, particularly the right of fair hearing.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) commends the judiciary for upholding justice and the tenets of democracy, particularly the right of fair hearing, by ordering the immediate reopening of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio.

READ ALSO: Court Asks DAAR/NBC To Maintain Status Quo

The statement who condemned the suspension said such should not be encouraged in a democratic dispensation.

Our party holds that media intimidation, as a feature of a military regime, must not be allowed in a democratic order, adding that there is no way democracy, with its principles and values, can thrive without a free press.

The party also called on the media, as the fourth estate of the realm, not to be cowed but continue to discharge their constitutional duties in national development, in line with its professional ethics and best practices.

SERAP Describes DAAR Communications’ Licence Suspension As ‘Blatant Illegality’

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have described the suspension of the operating licence of DAAR Communications PLC by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as blatant illegality.

The group also said they are considering all the legal options to challenge NBC over the suspension of DAAR Communications licence.

This was disclosed in a statement signed on Friday by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

We are considering all the legal options to challenge this blatant illegality.

These grounds are so subjective that if allowed to stand would seriously undermine freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information in the country. The mere fact that forms of expression on AIT/Raypower are considered by NBC to be insulting is not sufficient to justify the indefinite suspension. These grounds do not meet the requirements of legality, reasonableness, due process, necessity, and proportionality.

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The suspension amounts to an unnecessary or disproportionate interference with freedom of expression and media freedom. NBC ought to show a greater level of independence in the exercise of its statutory powers. Without independence, NBC cannot satisfactorily perform its duties. If allowed to stand, this suspension may be perceived as a threat to restrict the media and open the door to limitations on expression and media operations. This would be entirely inconsistent with constitutional provisions and international law, and undermine the governments commitment to fighting grand corruption.

SERAP also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail NBC to immediately end the suspension to strengthen the independence of the NBC, if the countrys constitutional and international legal commitments to freedom of expression, media freedom and access to information are not to be undermined.

Court Asks DAAR/NBC To Maintain Status Quo

Justice Ekwo of the Federal High Court has ordered that parties in the case of DAAR communications and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should maintain the status quo pending a hearing on June 13, 2019.

The pending hearing is for NBC to show the cause why the reliefs sort by DAAR communications should not be granted.

DAAR communications had earlier filed a motion seeking an ex parte order of interim injuction in its favour restraining the NBC, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called, from blocking, jamming, stopping, removing from air and/or interfering with the airwaves of the plaintiff/applicant in any way and manner howsoever, in its broadcast and airing of news, views, documentaries, or any other legitimate broadcast material that is usually associated with television, radio or social media broadcast pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.

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Alternatively, they asked the court for an order to maintain status quo ante bellum as at May 30, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.

The grounds for bringing this application according to DAAR communication is that in the best tenets and tradition of broadcast and in compliance with section 22 of 1999 constitution.

It’s duties legally, legitimately, morally and nationalistically, in informing, educating and entertaining Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora on sundry matters, which activities have energized and contributed to national development and also nurtured, widened, deepened and strengthened democracy, rule of law, human rights and anti-corruption in Nigeria.

DAAR Communications also averred that since the emergence of the present government, it has been under close surveillance and undue monitoring of its operations by the present government which wrongly believes that the plaintiff/applicant had been too supportive of the immediate past government.

According to their motion Daar Communication also said that sometimes on April 16, 2019, agents of the Federal Government represented by the 1st defendant, in a gestapo- like- manner, attacked and pulled down the two buildings and gates leading to the plaintiff/applicants operational headquarters which damage and destruction run into hundreds of millions of naira.

They also averred that shutting down its broadcast services will deny the majority of Nigerians access to information which is constitutionally guaranteed and its teaming workers of their means of livelihood.

The judge, therefore, adjourned to June 13, 2019, for NBC to show the cause why the reliefs sort by DAAR communications should not be granted.

NBC’s Statement Suspending DAAR Communications Licence

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Thursday suspended the operating licence of DAAR Communications PLC until further notice.

The commission announced the decision at a news briefing in Abuja, the nations capital stating alleged inability to pay the license renewal fees, hate speeches, as part of the reasons for the suspension.

Daar Communications Plc is the parent company of Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Ray Power 100.5 FM (in Abuja and Lagos)

 

Read full statement below…

Following monitoring reports and complaints from concerned Nigerians about the broadcast contents of Daar Communications Plc AIT/Raypower broadcast stations, the NBC have over the last 2 years summoned on several occasions management of the company to address issues regarding the operations of AIT/Raypower with the company, particularly, Political Platform and Kakaaki aired on AIT.

In one of our meetings, held on 2nd June 2017, the Commission expressed its disappointment with the way and manner Hate Speech, divisive and inciting comments are applied in the discussion of national issues in breach of the provisions of the NBC Act and Broadcast Code.

Again, on 15th August 2017, it became imperative to invite the company for yet another meeting on almost the same issues. Furthermore, while addressing another meeting on 7th February 2018 we highlighted issues of concern to the Commission which indicated that the company had been breaching the provisions of Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 of the Broadcast Code. The companys delegates in their response promised to abate the breaches and comply with the law.

However, on October 18, 2018, the Commission was disturbed with the manner in which social media issues became part of the mainstream media unedited on AIT/Raypower, and was constrained to issue a generic letter to all broadcast stations on

The need to exercise caution in the use of user-generated content from social media knowing how volatile and misleading social media has become. The management of Daar Communication Plc thereafter took to the social media to display our official correspondences.

Recently, the Commissions monitoring reports on AIT/Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of Kakaaki, tagged, Kakaaki Social, where inciting comments like, Nigeria is cursed, we declare independent state of Niger Delta, Nigeria irritates me, this country is gradually Islamizing and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast Code. We were therefore constrained to issue Daar Communication letters of warning dated May 27th, 2019.

We also observed from monitoring reports that a documentary on the Presidential Election Tribunal, a pending election petition matter aired on AIT on Wednesday and Thursday, 22nd and 23rd May 2019 without regard to the provisions of the Broadcast Code. The Commission, in line with its regulatory powers, again cautioned AIT in another letter also dated 27th May 2019.

However, instead of making amends, the management of Daar Communications Plc resorted to the use of media propaganda against the regulator. Even the letters from the NBC were posted on social media platforms.

Needless to state that Daar Communications have over the years turned themselves into a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run.

In their relationship with the NBC, Daar Communications carry on, as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the Commission. They dont pay their licence fees as and when due.

Its broadcast is patently partisan and one-sided and deliberately inciting and heating the polity. The management of the Company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.

 

SHUT DOWN ORDER

Today the 6th of June, 2019, AIT/Raypower embarked on the use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts, and media propaganda against the government and, the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria.

Consequently, after several meetings with the management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning. The NBC, today 6th June 2019 took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the Commissions directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11

Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

This decision is based on the provisions of Section 10 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which states as follows:

(d) wherein the opinion of the Commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to the national interest.

(g) where there is willful or repeated failure to operate substantially as set forth in the licence

(h), where there is willful or repeated violation or willful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Act or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(i), where there is a violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission;

(k), where a provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code has been seriously breached; and

The SHUTDOWN order is until further notice.

 

NBC Suspension Of AIT, Raypower: An Attempt To Gag The Media, Says PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has described the suspension of the operating licence of DAAR Communications PLC, the parent company of Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Ray Power 100.5 FM, as an attempt to gag media.

The PDP in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan said, it is evident that the attack on AIT is targeted at intimidating and gaging the media, repress constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and stifle public opinion, particularly as related to the determination by Nigerians to retrieve the stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal.

READ ALSO: NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

The party also described the suspension as a clampdown on AIT noting that it is a plot to frighten and asphyxiate the media.

They accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to strangle the media adding that the Director-General of the NBC, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, is a card-carrying member of APC.

The APC is mortally afraid that a free press will raise the red flag and expose its manipulations and any attempt to subvert the course of justice, especially in the Presidential petition, hence this desperation to strangulate the media and cow Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.

Moreover, the PDP invites Nigerians to note that the Director-General of the NBC, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, is a card-carrying member and frontline leader in the APC who was also an aspirant on the platform of the party for the governorship of Kwara state.

The PDP notes that there can be no democracy without a free press. To stifle the media is an invitation to fascism and a return to the era of obnoxious military Decrees 2 and 4, which must be resisted by all.

Our party, therefore, calls on Nigerians and the International community to unite in condemning this desperation to gag the media and repress free speech in Nigeria.”

The NBC on Thursday announced the suspension of the licences of the AIT and Ray Power FM belonging to the Daar Communications Limited.

The NBC Director-General, Kawu, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja. He said the shutdown of the media houses was until further notice.

The DG said the infractions committed by the media houses included their inability to pay their licence renewal fees and the airing of a Presidential election documentary while the matter was still before a tribunal, among others.

Police Barricade Entrance To DAAR Communications Office After NBC Sanction

PHOTO: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

Some Police officers have barricaded the entrance to the Abuja office of DAAR Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower and Faaji FM on Friday morning.

Workers who tried to gain entrance into the premises were stopped following the suspension placed on the media outfit by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

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NBC said that DAAR Communications is allegedly unable to pay the license renewal fees, used as a medium to spread hate speeches, as well as being used for selfish political ends.

See photos below:

Shutting Down DAAR Communication Is Not An Option BON

 

The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) has reacted to the recent suspension of DAAR Communications by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), saying the move is not an option the regulatory body should have adopted.

The organisation through its Vice Chairman, Godfrey Ohuabunwa who was a guest on Channels Televisions News at 10, said there are other options available to address the issues raised.

He stressed that the sanction is not a good development, owing to the varying harassment journalists are faced with on a regular basis.

For us as a broadcast industry, we don’t think its a good development, the reason being that at this time, shutting down DAAR Communication is not the option.

We assume and we know that under international rules and engagement, as a regulator if there is an infraction by any of the broadcasters, I don’t think to shut down under this circumstance should be the action.

I believe that there are other options available to NBC to deal with this matter, they could have fined them or do other things, he added.

RELATED: NBC Suspends DAAR Communications License

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He called for the review of the NBC Act presently at the National Assembly because such sanctions deserve to be appealed.

But one thing this has brought to the fore is that it is high time that the NBC act is reviewed as we know it is presently at the National Assembly and I think that one of the things that should be taken cognisance of is that there should be room for appeal.

Because in any law, people have the opportunity to appeal, so if an infraction happens and a decision taken like this is hard.

In the last couple of years, the press and journalists have been cowed down in several ways, harassed.

NBC could have fined them as an option, shutting down is not an option. What do you gain by shutting down a TV station? he asked.

FG Files Fresh Application, Dasuki Denies Implicating Anyone

dasuki

The trial of the former National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo‎ Dasuki has again been stalled following the filing of a fresh application by the federal government seeking to stop the execution of the bail granted to the accused person on November 3, 2015.

At the resumed hearing, lawyer to the federal government, Mr Oladipo Okpeseyitan said that he had just been briefed to handle the case through a fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation authorizing him to take over the prosecution of the case.

He also told the court that he has filed a new application seeking to stay the execution or further execution of the order of the court delivered on November 3, 2015.

He added that the ‎federal government was not in disobedience of the order of the court granting bail to the accused person.

Lawyer ‎to the accused person, Mr Ahmed Raji, however, objected to the hearing of the application saying it was not ripe for hearing.

He told the court that he had just been served with the motion in court, adding that he needed time to respond to the motion.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola subsequently adjourned the case till December 8.

Dasuki Denies Implicating Anyone

Meanwhile, the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), has denied implicating anyone or group during interrogation on the allegation of $2billion arms purchase deal brought against him by the Federal Government.

Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate said that his client never made such statement or name anyone to EFCC. He wondered ‎where the authors got their information from.

“I was with Dasuki yesterday and wish to make a categorical statement that my client never made any statement of such nature or naming anybody or group in any statement.

“Quote me anywhere, Dasuki has not done anything like that. It is absolutely untrue. It is the figment of the imagination of the authors aimed at creating falsehood for reasons best known to them and Nigerians should disregard them.

“They are just out to scandalise the man, bring his image and character into disrepute so that his friends and well-wishers can run away from him. They want him deserted and that will fail,” Raji said.

 

 

EFCC Arrests Former Daar Communications Chairman, Raymond Dokpesi

dokpesiThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it has arrested the former Chairman of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.

He was picked up in Abuja at about noon on Tuesday and was accompanied to the office of the EFCC by his son Raymond Dokpesi Jnr., who is the current Chairman of Daar Communications.

The Head of Media in the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, told Channels Television that Chief Dokpesi was arrested in connection with money disbursed from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

He said that there was no explanation about what the money was meant for and it was pathetic that the office of the NSA was used as “a warehouse to dish out money to people”.

He added that very worrisome is that this hard-earned money is taken from the coffers of the country.

When contacted, Mr Mike Ozekhome (SAN), lawyer to Dokpesi said that it is a return to authoritarian regime as only last week Daar Communications Holdings, not Dokpesi, was invited by the EFCC to explain alleged contracts to the company from the office of the former National Security Adviser and that tax payments and other documents should be supplied to EFCC.

He said that as far he knew, no contract was gotten from the office of the NSA but that he sent a lawyer from his chamber, Barrister Justine Omogbemeh to accompany Dokpesi to the EFCC office.

“I do not regard this as an arrest. If you are invited by the EFCC that is not the same thing as an arrest. We got this information through a mere phone call. There is no warrant of arrest and as a well-respected obedient nationalist, Chief Dokpesi decided to go and answer the invitation,” he said.