The Chairman, Committee on Prosecution of Banditry Related Offences and member of the State Committee on Security and Intelligence Gathering, Dr. Sani Abdullahi Shinkafi, yesterday apologised over the shutting down of broadcast stations in Zamfara State on behalf of the state government.
Daily Trust reports that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and other broadcast industry stakeholders, including journalists’ professional associations, have condemned the closure of some broadcast stations by the Zamfara State government.
This followed last Saturday’s shutting down by the state government of some stations for covering a political event organised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state capital, Gusau.
The state Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara who made the announcement on the state radio station said the order affects Radio Nigeria’s Pride FM, NTA, Gamji Television, Vision FM and Al’Umma TV.
Dosara said the media houses were shut down because they violated their professional ethics by attending a rally organised by the opposition PDP in the state, which was earlier banned by the state government for security reasons.
However, there were swift condemnations from the NBC and other stakeholders who called on the state government to rescind its decision and tender an apology.
In a statement signed on behalf of the Zamfara State government, Dr. Shinkafi said: “We have seen what various interest groups have said, the NUJ, NBC, IPI, and we understand their concerns but what the BON said is a personal attack on the executive governor of the state. Nevertheless, on behalf of the state government, we are apologising for our actions.
“The action taken by the state government was based on security reasons but not to muzzle free speech as being insinuated in some quarters. The security of people and property in the state is sacrosanct”
The Chairman of the Forum of Private Media Owners who is also the owner of Gamji TV and Gamji FM Alhaji Aliyu Adamu Tsafe said the stations shut down by the state government last Saturday are now back on air.
Speaking to our correspondent in Gusau, Tsafe said they had opened the stations and they were bolstered to do so by the statement issued by NBC, adding that they have not seen any reason for the action taken.
Daily Trust reports that NBC, which is the federal government agency in charge of regulations of broadcast media in the country, had described the shutdown of operations of some of its licensees by the Zamfara State government as illegal.
The state Commissioner of Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara could not be reached for comment at the time of filing this report.