ADVOCATES of the community broadcasting under the auspices of the Nigerian Community Radio Coalition (NCRC) are displeased with the federal government. And they appear to have strong reason for their displeasure.
Twenty-seven months (since October 19, 2010 precisely) after President Goodluck Jonathan declared that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) could consider and issue community radio licences, the order has not been heeded.
Worst still, the ‘stumbling blocks’ against the operationalisation of this directive are not explicitly communicated to the stakeholders, hence, operatives of rumour mill have since taken over the process.
Hear President Jonathan on the occasion of the 8th Biennial Conference of African Broadcasters (AFRICAST) in October 2010: “We are aware of the need to expand the broadcast space and give more voice to the people. Consequently, the Federal Executive Council has considered and approved the guidelines proposed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the licensing of Community Radio in Nigeria. Further, 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 conditions stipulated by law.”
At the two-day Community Radio Briefing and Strategy Meeting held last week (January 21 and 22) in Abuja, attention was focused on how to unravel the mystery surrounding the realisation of this dream. Principally, the objective of the meeting was to develop strategies to achieve the speedy implementation of community radio licensing to promote media pluralism and democratization of citizen access to information.
The meeting was convened by the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the Nigeria Community Radio Coalition (NCRC). The DGD II project is joint donor-funded project managed by the UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria.
(Source : The Guardian, Nigeria)