In response to the country’s current dire economic circumstances, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has requested President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to promptly review the operating licenses of media organizations at a lower level.
This information may be found in a statement made in Abuja by NLC President Ayuba Wabba.
The call occurred as NBC reported that 52 broadcast stations had their licenses revoked. The deadline for media organizations to pay their outstanding bills by August 23 was extended by NBC on August 20.
Mr Wabba, however, described the action by NBC as a “slippery road to press emasculation.”
“The most palpable reason for the failure of many of the media houses to pay for the renewal of their operating licences could be easily found in the deteriorating economic conditions in Nigeria,” Mr Wabba stressed. “This is understandable given the severe stress, and strain businesses in Nigeria have been subjected to owing to the fallout of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.”
The NLC boss added, “The ongoing disruption in global and domestic energy supply, the foreign exchange volatilities, and the associated hyper-inflation.”
He claimed that many media outlets in Nigeria, like other companies, faced the dual challenges of rising operating expenses and declining sales.
“To compound the situation is the epileptic supply of electricity with the national grid collapsing intermittently for the umpteenth time in recent months,’’ Mr Wabba said.
He added that these expenditures were in addition to the alarmingly high rise in energy prices, which had the greatest impact on electronic media companies.
“There are salaries to pay, maintenance services, and sundry basic operating costs to keep the media houses running and serving their listening and viewing public,” the NLC leader added. “Amidst these operational suffocations, how does NBC expect the media houses to generate the money to renew their operating licences?”
The NLC president claims that NBC’s behavior reeks of disregard for the needs of the media companies’ employees. He asserted that it was inconceivable that the government would consider forcing many Nigerians into the labor market in the midst of “very traumatic economic realities.”
The NLC urged NBC to reconsider its decision to revoke the operational licenses of the impacted media organizations in order to protect the democratic, economic, and media rights of Nigerians.