The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has extended the deadline for the payment of outstanding licence fees by broadcast stations by three months.
This was announced on Friday in Abuja by the Director-General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu, who stated that the new deadline is now June 30, 2017.
The NBC boss lauded the leadership of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, Mr John Momoh, for spearheading an initiative to synergise broadcast organisations and officials of the NBC, to work out modalities leading to a final solution on the matter.
He added that the Commission would release a statement of account to each station within the month of April, to enable them reconcile their records and remit what is owed before June 30.
The extension followed an initial announcement by the NBC to shut down all indebted broadcast stations after March 31, if the outstanding fees were not paid.
Mr Kawu said more than 54 broadcast licences have been revoked since 2015, adding that the number of revocations would rise as new applicants for broadcast licences replace indebted broadcasters.
“There are those who used political connections with the top-most political leadership in Nigeria in the past to get illegal and undue favours that ran contrary to the NBC Act and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code,” he said earlier in an interview.
The NBC Director-General noted that “it’s a different period in our country”, saying “nobody will go up to Aso Villa and get some black market deal anymore”.
The Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) has asked the national assembly to consider the review of the structure of ownership and control of public media houses in the on-going constitution amendment to give the organisations more editorial independence and make them more accountable to Nigerians.
Speaking at a dialogue of editors on the review of the 1999 Constitution, the president of the NUJ, Mr Muhammed Garba, stated that the review of the acts establishing these media houses have become imperative as there is a need to give them more editorial independence as well as make them more accountable to the Nigerian public and not the government.
The affected media organisations that will be affected with the review will be the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Others are the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) ACT
According to Mr Garba, parts of the Act that need change is the powers that allow the President to hire and fire in the various public media houses ,this he says will give the organisations more neutrality in the job of discriminating information.
He also demanded a review of the laws on the establishment of media organisation in Nigeria, as he also sought for laws that will make provision for a better welfare for media practitioners.