The NBC will withdraw its suspension, while AIT/Raypower will withdraw its court case.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has decided to withdraw its suspension of the operating licence of DAAR Communications Plc after a meeting where all issues were resolved.
The NBC, on Thursday, June 6, 2019, suspended DAAR’s licence for failure to abide by its directives over the management of the content on its broadcast stations – Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower.
However, the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, June 7, reversed the suspension order and granted an order for the maintenance of status quo pending the hearing and final determination of DAAR’s motion against the NBC, and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) who were joined as respondents.
Despite the hostilities between both parties, it has now been announced that a resolution has been reached after a meeting with relevant stakeholders on Sunday, June 9.
According to a statement signed by the president of the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), Nduka Obaigbena, the meeting was convened to resolve the issues in the national interest.
During the meeting, the NBC complained about DAAR’s failure to adhere to its code despite repeated warnings, as well as its lingering issue of non-payment of national network license fees.
DAAR defended itself by saying it gives its team freedom to make editorial commentary on issues relying on Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas without interference. DAAR also excused its failure to promptly pay licence fees on the economic difficulties affecting the industry.
At the end of the meeting, five resolutions were reached with the NBC agreeing to immediately lift the suspension on DAAR, while DAAR agreed to withdraw its case in court.
DAAR also agreed to work out a new realistic payment plan with the NBC and ensure prompt payments, while also promising to appoint an Ombudsman to ensure balance in its news coverage especially political commentary. DAAR similarly agreed to take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media outlets.
“All parties will take necessary steps to work together to build confidence in the public interest,” the statement read.