Concerns voiced over Nigerian community radio delays

Proponents of community radio under the umbrella body of the Nigerian Community Radio Coalition (NCRC) have expressed concerns over the lack of action in establishing community radio stations, despite the 2010 declaration by President Goodluck Jonathan that licenses should be awarded.

President Jonathan announced in 2010 that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should undertake the award of licenses for the establishment of community radio stations.

The stakeholders spoke at the just concluded two-day Community Radio Briefing and Strategy Meeting held in Abuja. At the meeting, participants discussed the challenges to community radio stations in Nigeria and strategies to speed up the community radio licensing policy.

Speakers urged the NBC to take the lead in dismantling the various stumbling blocks in the establishment process, asking it to put together a high-level meeting where stakeholders would have an intensive deliberation on the problems facing community radio in Nigeria.

They also advised the NBC to come up with a regulatory framework for community radio broadcasting that will spark public debates and discussions.

Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye of the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Lagos led deliberations on new approaches in ensuring active participation of citizens in national issues. According to him, people could get actively involved in decision-making, planning and execution of initiatives that will greatly improve socio-political and economic development.

Other speakers noted the roles of community radio across the world, such as serving as medium for communicating with the grassroots and bringing about participatory and democratic development.

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