•Honoured for his contributions to broadcasting in Nigeria
•Writing a book on his experiences as a broadcaster
The veteran Nigerian broadcaster, Cyril Stober has disclosed that the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has always been harder on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) than private owned Television or Radio stations as against public perception.
The veteran who retired from the NTA after 35 years of service made this known recently while fielding questions at the Halo Fireside Chat hosted by Oghogho Odoko founder of Halo in Abuja where he was honoured and appreciated for his contributions to broadcasting in Nigeria.
Stober while reacting to the suspension on DAAR Communications PLC owners of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM, said the NTA is always penalised for every breach of the broadcasting code while private stations violate certain code and don’t get sanctioned
He said: “For NTA, you are bound to respect certain rules and when there are breaches, NBC comes harder on NTA than private media contrary to what most people think.
“Recently they had some issues with AIT and a lot of people said if it was NTA they won’t do anything, that’s not true. Every breach, NBC penalizes NTA and they don’t do that with private media.”
The veteran broadcaster, however regretted that the NTA is not operating as an ideal public outfit which is to serve the interest of the public rather than the government. He said Nigeria did not follow in the area of its colonial master.
According to him, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Station is government owned but the government does not dictate what it Airs as it only serves the interest of the people.
He stressed that”whoever heads the UK government cannot appoint the Director General of BBC. So, it’s not government businesses and in that case, government cannot dictate what to air and not to Air, they serve the people.
He added: “We have a slightly different scenario here, in the act establishing the NTA, the supervision of the NTA is domiciled under the appointed authority, the federal ministry of information.
“But unfortunately the law gives the minister unusual powers, where one individual determines what’s in the public interest, the minister single-handedly determines if a material is in public interest and because it’s in the law you are bound to obey that law, if you refuse you are breached.”
“Over the years people who have held that position have either used it wisely or taken advantage of such powers and uses it arbitrarily and that’s why you hear people say it’s only the government story they tell in NTA all the time, if you want to hear the real news go to private stations. But as a professionals you have your conscience to deal with,” he added.
Speaking on his experiences as a broadcaster, Stober said he retired from the service four years ago but had continued working in private capacity.
Stober who revealed that he ventered into broadcasting by accident said his broadcasting career is in the 42nd year.
According to him, “growing up I never thought that I would have anything to do with broadcasting, I wanted or be an engineer, but when that didn’t work, I found out that out that I was drawn to the news Media.
“The first time I heard my voice on radio, it was a church programme which was recorded and played back on NBC radio Kaduna, at that point I was excited and that’s when it all started.”
Stober said his love for broadcasting has kept him on the job. He hinted that he was writing a book on his experiences as a broadcaster.
The host and Founder of Halo, Mr. Oghogho Odoko, said the Halo is a community of Christian creatives and a platform for them to express themselves.
Odoko noted that the Fireside Chat is a programme where veterans in distinguished fields are interviewed for the creatives to learn from their life experiences.
Speaking on why he decided to invite Cyril Stober, he said, “I heard he retired and he has served in broadcasting for 42 years, that’s a lot of experience and he has been an upstanding citizen of the country, he is exemplary, he someone we all looked up to as children.”