CPJ asks Nigerian agency to reverse closure of Wazobia fm in Kano

The Nigeria Broadcast Corporation ordered the closure of Wazobia fm in February.

A media advocacy organisation has condemned the revocation of the broadcast licence of Wazobia fm in Kano and has called on the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, to immediately reverse its decision.

Last month, the NBC announced that it has revoked Wazobia’s licence after it claimed the station’s Hausa language talk show, “Sandar Girma” was responsible for inciting the killing of six polio immunisation workers by men suspected to members of the Boko Haram militia.

Authorities have also filed a case of criminal conspiracy, abetment, defamation of character, and obstruction of a public officer carrying out his duty, intentional insult, and incitement to violence against the presenters of the programme, Musa Fagge and Mubarak Sani.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, however, said the NBC has refused to give specific examples of the show inciting crime or disorder.

“Nigerian authorities closed Wazobia FM because they did not like its critical coverage, and then they cloaked their decision in highly charged but unsupported allegations of incitement,” CPJ’s Africa Advocacy Coordinator, Mohamed Keita, said.

Referring to a 2001 report by Media Rights Agenda and ARTICLE 19, the CPJ condemned the NBC’s sweeping powers to grant and revoke licences of broadcast media organisation describing it as “broad and vague” saying its regulatory functions are “arbitrary and susceptible to discriminatory application,” and its restrictions on content are “excessive and contrary to international standards.”

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