Details of the suspension were not clear as of the time of this report but a senior official of the TV station confirmed the suspension to PREMIUM TIMES, saying it was communicated via a letter to the management.
Staff at Channels TV, however, said the management was yet to brief them officially of the development as of the time of this report.
A journalist at the TV station said the ban only affected their terrestrial operations and not their channel on the PayTV network, DSTV.
We have been banned, but it’s only from local transmission; we’re still operating on DSTV and the digital (Channels website), the source said.
“We heard it just the way everyone is hearing it. I’ve not seen any official communication to that effect on any of our channels. Work is going on as usual,” another staff of the TV station said.
The suspension has been condemned by many Nigerians as an attack on independent media.
In its reaction, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) threatened to sue the regulatory body if it fails to reverse the ‘illegal’ decision within the next 48 hours.
SERAP described the move by NBC as an affront on freedom of expression and the right of the media to function in its natural capacity.
“This action by the government and NBC is yet another example of Nigerian authorities’ push to silence independent media and voices. The government and NBC lift the suspension and uphold the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended) and international obligations to respect and protect freedom of expression and media freedom.
“This is a new low in Nigeria’s protection of freedom of expression, and the ability of independent media to function in the country. The suspension of Channels Television is detrimental to media freedom, and access to information, and the Federal Government and NBC must immediately reverse the decision,” SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, posited in a statement issued on Monday.
The body called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution NBC against intimidation of media houses and unchecked disrespect for Nigeria constitution and other charters on human rights.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should caution the NBC to stop intimidating and harassing independent media houses and to respect the Nigerian Constitution, and the country’s international human rights obligations, including under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” Mr Oluwadare said.
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