Lawyer and social commentator, Dr. Charles Omole has said the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) may have overreacted in suspending the licence of Daar Communication PLC owned AIT and Raypower FM.
Omole made this known in a series of tweets on his official twitter handle while analysing the crisis between Ishaq Modibbo Kawu led NBC and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi Daar Communication PLC.
He opined that NBC should stick to it rules in dealing with AIT if it went against any Broadcasting code produced by the NBC which governs its activities.
He also advised NBC to immediately withdraw its sanction against AIT and Raypower FM.
He said, “NBC versus AIT ( A Balanced Analysis) I have observed the exchanges between AIT and NBC in recent past, especially over the past week. A polarised nation has taken sides on this matter; but a careful look at the facts will reveal on overreach on BOTH sides.”
“AIT has been scatting on thin Ice with many of its broadcasts and NBC has warned it severally in the past. So on one hand NBC needed to do something to enforces its powers according to law; but NBC appears to be as politically bias as AIT is. The action taken to suspend AIT’s licence is not a necessary step, especially given the appearance of political bias alleged against its DG who is an ex-candidate under the ruling APC. The fact that AIT is pro PDP has never been hidden and many of its broadcasts has been unduly one-sided I must admit.”
“But is the action of NBC proportionate given the need to give its actions appearance of Impartiality based on the allegation of pro APC bias levelled against its DG my many.”
“Reading the Broadcasting code produced by the NBC, which governs its activities, there are 3 classes of Sanction available for breach of d code. Sanctions are grouped into Class A, B & C by Sec 15.1.1 of the code. Class A sanctions include: (a) immediate order of suspension of broadcast services (b) suspension of licence & immediate shut down/seal up Class B sanctions Include: (a) Warning to remedy the breach within a reasonable time frame, failing which a penalty shall apply; (b) Failure to comply with the provision of sub-paragraph “a” above attracts a reduction of the daily broadcast hours The re-commencement of full broadcast hours shall attract a heavy penalty. (c) Failure to comply with the provisions of sub-paragraph “b” above, attracts the suspension of the Broadcast Licence for a period of 30 days.”
“Class C sanctions include: (a) A verbal admonition to remedy the breach within 24hrs; (b) Failure to comply with provision of sub-paragraph“a” above shall lead to issuance of a written warning; (c) Failure to comply with provisions of sub-para “b” leads to a light penalty; From available evidence; AIT has been warned several times about its breaches of the code. So NBC could be said to have acted based on Class C sanctions. But failure to comply with Class C should (based on the NBC code) lead to a Class B sanction.”
“This would have been proportionate and equitable. By jumping straight to Class A sanction (when B has not yet been used); NBC may have overreacted and its action of Suspending AIT may be found to be disproportionate and a breach of of its own code.”
“This procedural irregularities could be interpreted as being informed by its own political bias; at least that of its DG. So a balanced analysis will show that Both AIT and NBC have questions to answer. AIT need to step back and work wishing the code it signed up to.”
“It is a fact that if a man steals your goat & u shoot him in the face as a result; nobody will talk about d goat stolen anymore. It is your attempted Murder that will be the talk of the town. By skipping a whole class of Sanction, NBC could been accused of executive recklessness.”
“Solution: I will advise NBC to withdraw its sanction immediately. Then give AIT a final warning. If breached, it should apply Class B sanction by suspending AIT for 30days or reducing its hours of operation as stated in the Code. This will be proportionate and appear even handed.”
“AIT should apologise for any break of the code as alleged; but then proceed to seek a judicial review of the code, challenging its constitutionality. NBC appears to have taken the bait of AIT by allowing itself to be provoked and lashed out excessively.”
“Both now need to step back and allow common sense to reign. In the end, the court may find NBC has a right to sanction AIT, but that the Class A sanction imposed could be disproportionate when Class B has yet to be applied.”