By Andy Chukwu
The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday adopted as its judgment, the terms of a settlement reached between the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and Daar Communications Plc.
The dispute between both parties had earlier led to the suspension of the national broadcast licences of the media company’s subsidiaries: African Independent Television and Raypower 100.5 FM.
Justice Inyang Ekwo in the ruling delivered the “consent judgment” after Daar Communications’ lawyer adopted the terms of settlement dated June 20 and filed before the court on June 25.
Counsel to both parties: Daar Communications (the plaintiff), NBC (the first respondent) and Attorney-General of Federation (the third respondent) did not oppose the terms of the settlement.
The second defendant, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was not represented by any lawyer.
Subsequently, the judge adopted all the seven terms in the agreement consented to without any alteration as the court’s judgment.
Justice Ekwo ordered among others, that Daar Communications should furnish the NBC “with a concrete and realistic proposal” and ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding licence renewal fee.
He also ordered the company to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially the political commentary on its stations across the country.
“And the court having entered judgment per terms of the settlement adopted, it is hereby ordered as follows:
“That the plaintiff (DAAR Communications Plc) shall furnish the 1st defendant (National Broadcasting Commission) with concrete and realistic proposal and ensure the prompt payment of the outstanding licence the renewal fee for its National Network Broadcast licence (Radio/T.V).
“That the plaintiff shall take necessary internal steps to ensure balance in its news coverage, especially the political commentary on the Plaintiff’s stations across the country.
“That the plaintiff shall take full editorial responsibility for the use of content sourced from social media and all/any other outlets.
“That the plaintiff shall ensure that all programmes transmitted on its TV/Radio stations across the country comply with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, the National Broadcasting Commission Act, Cap. NH, Laws of the Federation, 2004 and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code as may be in force or/and as amended from time to time.
“That the 1st defendant shall withdraw forthwith, the suspension of the National Network Broadcast licence (Radio/TV) of the plaintiff.
“That the Terms of Settlement tiled and adopted is hereby entered as the judgement of this court in this suit.
“That each of the parties shall bear its own costs of this action.”