Four non-governmental organisations: the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), the Institute for Media and Society (IMS) and the International Press Centre (IPC) have asked President Jonathan to take urgent steps to ensure that relevant government institutions and agencies give effect to his directive while the NBC should without further delay proceed with the issuance of community radio licenses.
They observed that since October 2010, when President Goodluck Jonathan announced a presidential approval for the licensing of community radio stations across the country and accordingly delegated his powers under the Constitution to issue broadcast licences to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the statutory regulator for the broadcast sector, nothing has been done to issue community radio licences.
The organisations made this and other recommendations in a joint press statement as they join the rest of the global community in celebrating the second anniversary of World Radio Day on February 13, 2013. They observed that there is continued delay in the operationalization of Community Radio in Nigeria and that there was lack of public involvement in the processes leading to the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting. They also noted the absence of constitutional backing for independent broadcasting in Nigeria.
They therefore made recommendations to address these observations. The organisations call on the government to make public the White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting and open it up for discussions and consultations among stakeholders in line with democratic norms and practices.
They also urged the National Assembly in particular and other stakeholders in general to take advantage of the constitution review process by supporting the amendments proposed by the Media Network on the Review of the 1999 Constitution for ensuring a constitutional backing for independent broadcasting in Nigeria.
The organisations said they continue to identify with the aspirations which motivated the proclamation of February 13 as World Radio Day, to raise awareness about the importance of radio, facilitate access to information through radio and enhance networking among broadcasters.
The 36th General Conference of UNESCO on November 3, 2011 approved the proclamation that February 13 of every year should be observed as World Radio Day, following a proposal at the session 187 of UNESCO’s Executive Board in September 2011.
To view and download the full text of the Joint press statement, please log on to http://mediarightsagenda.net/press-release-joint-world-radio-day-statement-by-ncrc-mra-ims-and-ipc/