World Service hit by Nigerian clampdown

BBC World Service’s FM broadcasts in Nigeria were suspended last Thursday, after the country’s broadcasting watchdog banned local radio stations from rebroadcasting all live foreign news on 1 April.

The ban by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission affected the BBC’s local broadcasting partner Raypower, which used to re-transmit BBC Africa Service programmes to major cities. These included the capital Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt. According to the BBC, more than six million Nigerians listen on its Africa Service broadcasts on FM every week with a total weekly audience of 21.7 million adults.

A BBC spokesman said the service’s short wave broadcasts were not affected and the World Service intended to boost its short wave signal to accommodate the dropped programming in the near future.

According to a statement on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission website, its director general Dr Silas Babajiya Yisa said it was “a professional aberration” for a station to relay live “any news over which it has no editorial control”.

Jerry Timmins, head of the BBC’s Africa and Middle East region, said: “We are sad that listeners will be deprived of our authoritative and impartial news and information, especially at a time when the thirst for international news is increasing.”

By Wale Azeez

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