Nigeria shuts private television, radio close to opposition

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Nigeria’s broadcasting authority said Thursday it had shut down a private radio and a television station both owned by a key opposition figure who earlier claimed his media operations were targeted in a crackdown.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it suspended the license of the Daar Communications Plc, owners of the African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM radio for breach of the broadcast codes.


The NBC said in a statement it had summoned the management of the stations for two years to address alleged bias in their broadcasts and for failing to meet financial obligations to the regulatory authority.

The statement charged the two had “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.”

NBC said it took the decision Thursday to “suspend the license” of AIT and RayPower FM “for failure to abide by the Commission’s directives and the provisions of the law. “The shutdown order is until further notice,” the statement said.

The two broadcast stations are owned by a business tycoon Raymond Dokpesi who is also a key member of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Dokpesi earlier Thursday addressed a news conference to accuse the NBC of intimidating his media empire on the instruction of the Nigerian presidency.

“We are on a road previously traveled. A media and press clampdown is in the offing,” Dokpesi said hours before the suspension of his license. Dokpesi, established RayPower FM as the pioneer private Radio in 1994 and AIT in 1998.

Reporters Without Borders places Nigeria in 119th place out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index. It says journalists are often threatened, subjected to physical violence, or denied access to information by government officials, police, and sometimes the public itself.

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