President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s 60% debt forgiveness to Television and radio stations in the country following their loss of revenue during the Covid-19 lockdown, demonstrates the President’s inclination towards sustaining a free and vibrant media in Nigeria.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), the 30% slash in licence fees for the broadcast stations by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) also shows Federal Government’s favourable disposition to their survival.
The group observed, in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently shown sensitivity to the operations of the media.
“This is the first time that the Federal Government has intervened in the management of the media, and this is in line with the government’s economic sustainability plan.
“It is on record that for about three months while the Covid-19 lockdown lasted, the media, particularly the broadcast arm, suffered tremendous loss of revenue due to lack of advertisements and sponsorship of programmes.
“Therefore, to enable them to stay afloat and continue to retain their workforce and meet other obligations, the Buhari administration saw it fit to offer them a debt relief of 60%. This is not only significant but unprecedented, especially as the government did not discriminate between the friendly and hostile media outfits in giving the debt relief.
“It shows a government that is humane and sensitive to the yearnings of the people”.
BMO also enjoined the media “to seize the opportunity and equally reciprocate the government’s gesture by partnering with the administration in the task of nation-building. It reminded the media that the interests of the media and the government should be mutually-inclusive, especially in advancing democracy and good governance in the country.
The group advised the media to avoid the temptation of always being hostile to government policies in their role of being the watchdog of the society.