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FG finally closes in on Berekete Family Human Rights Radio, orders its closure

The federal government sledge hammer has fallen on the pro-people Human Rights Radio as the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended its operational licence, effectively closing the station.

The Commission and the Human Rights Radio has over the years been at loggerheads over radio station star programme, Berekete Family, with NBC saying that it had “advised, cautioned, warned and fined the station over repeated cases of outright abuse, denigrating remarks, intimidation and flagrant abuse of ethics of fairness, balance and fair hearing on the station.”

But the radio station’s travails, which was announced in a statement on Thursday, began after Ahmed Isah, its owner, who is also the host of Berekete Family, a programme on the radio station, was caught assaulting a woman who appeared on the show.

Isah later tendered an apology to the woman and admitted that he overreacted.

But the NBC said in the statement that its management has reviewed the events and noted the unreserved apologies and regrets expressed by the broadcaster.

But it noted “however, that the action of the broadcaster is in clear violations of the Broadcasting Code and a betrayal of the confidence reposed on him by the people and Government of Nigeria on whose behalf he holds the radio license in trust.

“Section 0.1.1.2.1 of the Broadcasting Code provides in the Social Objectives of Broadcasting that Broadcasting shall – ‘promote generally accepted social values and norms, especially civic and social responsibilities; and encourage respect for the dignity of man’.

“It also provides that broadcasting organisations shall recognize that they exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, friends or supporters.

“It is important to state that the Commission has over the years, advised, cautioned, warned and fined the station over repeated cases of outright abuse, denigrating remarks, intimidation and flagrant abuse of ethics of fairness, balance and fair hearing on the station. It is also on record that the Commission had conducted several training and retraining programmes for the station and the host of the Brekete family programme especially.

“The Commission has therefore in line with the sanction provisions in 15.5.2 of the Broadcasting Code, ordered the suspension of license of the broadcaster until the broadcaster commits to ethical and professional broadcasting. The suspension order is effective Monday the 31st of May 2021, at 12.00am.

“The order shall last 30 days during which it is expected that the broadcaster will put its house in order and attune itself to responsive, professional and responsible broadcasting. It shall also pay a recommencement fee as provided for in section 15.5.1 of the Broadcasting Code at the end of the suspension period.

“The NBC appreciates the popularity of the station and the fact that it has in many cases tuned its programming to the yearnings of the people. The Commission however has a sacred duty to promote decency, professionalism and respect for the dignity of all citizens by all Broadcasters in Nigeria.”

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