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‘Ordinary President: NBC Sanctions Human Rights Radio; suspends broadcast license

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The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the license of Human Rights Radio.

The radio station, and it’s owner and star presenter, Ahmed Isah has been under fire since the BBC Africa Eye exposed how he assaulted a woman who appeared on his show.

The woman, who was accused of setting a young girl’s hair on fire over a witchcraft allegation, had feigned ignorance when Isah questioned her.

After several attempts to make her confess ended in futility, Isah slapped the defenceless woman while on camera.

In an interview with NAN last week, Mr Ekanem Antia, Deputy Director, Public Affairs, NBC, said Isah had been invited for explanations.

The deputy director further explained that the invitation would enable the commission to know the circumstances surrounding the situation that led to the assault.

Following the public backlash, Isah on his radio show last week Wednesday, said he allowed his emotion to take over him.

He said: “I apologise to everybody that I have offended in one way or the other. Please, I’m a human being. I’m bound to make mistakes. I was triggered by the zeal and passion in me” he had stated.

However in a statement released today,Thursday, the management of the NBC said it reviewed the events and noted the unreserved apologies and regrets expressed by the broadcaster.

“The Commission states, 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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