The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Atiku Abubakar has condemned the withdrawal of the broadcast licenses of African Independent Television (AIT) and RayPower FM by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Atiku in a short statement issued on his Facebook page said the action was a threat to the nation’s democracy.
“I received with trepidation reports of the withdrawal of the licenses of AIT and Ray Power owned by DAAR Group. The Gen. Buhari administration needs to be reminded that freedom of the press and of speech is not only fundamental to democracy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Nothing untoward must be done to roll back our hard earned democracy. -AA” he said.
NBC had on Thursday ordered suspension of operations of both AIT and RayPower FM following the withdrawal of their licenses in what appears to be an all out clampdown on the media by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
AIT and RayPower FM were both founded by a top opposition stalwart, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi. Dokpesi had on Thursday protested against the actions of the government. In a world press conference, Dokpesi said the federal government is shutting out criticisms.
He said, “I believe very strongly that under the leadership of the current Director General of the NBC (Is’haq Kawu), press freedom has been greatly eroded. If this was not protected by the President at the top, is it possible that his body language is being interpreted?
“I have it on strict authority and very assured information that the highest echelons of government, the Presidency, queried and challenged the NBC that they were not doing their jobs: ‘How on earth could they be hearing and seeing on AIT what they termed hate speech?’
“Any criticism of this government is hate speech. The NBC is acting under the authority of the President and Commander-in-Chief.”