The owners of AIT and RayPower, DAAR Communications Plc, said they have paid a fine of N1.5 million imposed on it by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
The company’s Group Managing Director, Tony Akiotu, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday in Abuja.
The NBC had on July 9 fined the media organisation N1 million for “exceeding the allowed band occupancy limit” originally granted to RayPower.
In the letter seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the NBC said after carrying out a random spectrum scan on the FM band, the station transmitting on 100.5MHz, occupied 100.3MHz – 100.6MHz indicating a 300KHz band occupancy which exceeded the 150KHz band occupancy limit allowed for FM Radio stations.
In a separate letter dated July 24, the NBC sanctioned the organisation’s programme, Political Platform, accusing its anchors of making “provocative, inflammatory and decisive” comments.
In the letter, the NBC made reference to the programme’s episode of Tuesday, July 24 which it said was marked by “sensational and heated expression of opinion” by its anchors.
The commission went ahead to fine DAAR Communications N500,000 for alleged breach of broadcast code by the anchors of the programme.
While stating the position and reaction of the broadcast company, Mr Akiotu said the Commission, under the present leadership, is determined to “intimidate, undermine” and ultimately, programmed to muzzle the constitutional rights guaranteeing the freedom of speech.
Regarding the first sanction of exceeding the allowed band occupancy limit, Mr Akiotu explained that his organisation broke no rule as the radio station had been operating within the limit given to them.
He made reference to a letter dated February 10,1999 which gives the radio station transmission frequency from 100.410 MHz to 100.590MHz and an operating Frequency of 100.5MHZ.
“We wish to state that possibly due to some ulterior motives calculated at a deterministic agenda, the Commission hurriedly without recourse to its records, to verify certain facts, did not also know that vide a letter reference No. NBC/11/s.26/Vol 1.259 dated February 10, 1999; signed by Mr. Bright E. Igbako, DAAR Communications Limited (as it then was) was issued a frequency Assignment to Raypower FM radio Relay station in Abuja, letter for Transmission Boundary of 100.410 MHz to 100.590MHz and an operating Frequency of 100.5MHZ.
“Without any prior correspondence on this same subject matter, surprisingly from the blues, in the earlier letter under reference the Commission in its own wisdom asserted a case of breach against us with a fine of N1,000,000.00 (One Million Nalra) with a further threat that “the Commission would not hesitate to apply higher sanctions including revocation of licence and shutting down of the broadcast station, if the breaches persist,” he said.
Reacting to the second letter from the NBC, Mr Akiotu said what the Commission did not state was that there havr been several consultations and engagements on the programme and its vibrancy, popularity amongst the generality of its audiences, the depths of the analysis and the thought-provoking views that are most patriotically expressed meant for the deepening of democratic culture and ethos as a nation.