Editors working under the auspices of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) have called for a review of the National Broadcasting Commission Act to increase the lifespan of a broadcast license from five to at least 10 years.
They raised this concern after the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) decision to shut down no fewer than 50 broadcast stations nationwide for failing to pay their license renewal fees.
The Guild’s President, Mustapha Isah, and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, stated this worry in a statement on Friday.
The editors explained that several broadcast stations are just managing to survive in the midst of the high competition in the industry following the licensing of hundreds of more stations by NBC.
The NGE tasked the NBC to enter into dialogue with the affected stations to restructure the debts owed and work out a convenient payment period to ensure their survival.
The professional organization for all Nigerian editors stated that, if the action is not stopped, it will result in the loss of thousands of jobs in a nation where employment opportunities are limited.
“The NGE is worried because media houses, which played and continue to play a key role in the nurturing and development of democracy, can’t just be off air no matter the reasons.”
“While the Guild is not against broadcast stations fulfilling their financial obligations to NBC, we note that the current harsh operating environment that has crippled every sector in our nation was not taken into account by NBC before its action.”
“Currently, it is difficult for private stations to import broadcast equipment due to the high exchange rate. We are all aware of the high operational costs, including the cost of diesel to power their generating sets,” the NGE stated.