Nelly Bassily | October 25, 2010
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has announced measures to support the establishment of community radio in Nigeria.
He has empowered the National Broadcasting Commission to approve licences for community radio stations. Previously, only the Presidency had this power. President Jonathan made the statement at the 8th Biennial Conference of Africa Broadcasters in Abuja, Nigeria this week.
The President stated, “We have devolved to the Commission the power to consider and issue the licences without further recourse to the Presidency, provided such applicants have met all the conditions stipulated by law.”
The move is a breakthrough for Nigeria’s Community Radio Coalition, which has been campaigning for such a move for several years. The decision was also welcomed by the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, or AMARC.
Steve Buckley is AMARC’s International President. He says, “We especially applaud the delegation of licence assessment and decision making to the regulatory body as another important step in democratising Nigerian media law and regulation.”
Oumar Seck Ndiaye is Africa President of AMARC. He added, “We congratulate the President and the Government of Nigeria for taking this bold step towards the development of community broadcasting.”
The President, however, urged journalists to “maintain professional integrity, by ensuring truth, balance and fairness,” in their coverage of political activities. He also reminded broadcasters of the importance of providing suitable content in their programming, saying: “If we as Africans must tell our story, in our own words, to the rest of the world, then we must pay close attention to the production of edifying programmes using the best available technology.”