Following in the spirit of three previous meetings on developing strategies for Building Community Radio in Nigeria, We, the participants drawn from civil society organizations, community-based organizations, academia, government policy bodies and international development agencies at the 4 th seminar on Building Community Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria, which held at Arewa House, Kaduna, from 20 th to 22 nd October 2004,organized by Panos Institute West Africa, World Association on Community Radio (AMARC) and Institute for Media and Society (IMS), deliberated on issues concerning community radio broadcasting in Nigeria and observed as follows :
That a successful execution of the poverty reduction strategies as well as the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of the government require the active role of a participatory and grassroot-oriented broadcast media;
That community radio remains the most credible platform for the marginalized and Underserved sections of our country to air their views about issues that affect their Lives, and development priorities;
That community radio can serve as a vital tool to strengthen democracy as it promotes access and participation;
That Nigeria – prone to civil unrests – of the communal, ethnic, religious and political variants, urgently requires the opportunities guaranteed by community radio to build the conditions for peace and for conflict resolution;
That in this age of globalization when indigenous languages and cultures are under threat of extinction, community radio can serve as an instrument for preserving language and cultural identities;
That under the present legal and regulatory regime, the process of obtaining a radio license is cumbersome and the fee structure prohibitive; and
That the NBC is grossly under-funded and, as currently constituted, lacks the necessary powers to carry out its regulatory functions;
Against this background, we hereby recommend the following:
That the on-going review of the national mass communication policy should recognize a three-tier structure of broadcasting: public; private/commercial and community.
That the same ongoing review must provide for a robust recognition for community radio and make its creation and development an urgent and salient part of the policy.
That the legislations on broadcasting should also be urgently reviewed to reflect the three-tier structure.
That the regulatory body, National Broadcasting Commission [NBC], should recognize the not-for-profit status of community radio, by among other things, making its licensing free.
That the NBC should be strengthened to perform its regulatory role and protected against interference through the appointment of an independent board drawn from a broad spectrum of stakeholder constituencies .
That in recognition of the political, ethnic and religious challenges in Nigeria, the NBC should be empowered to perform its monitoring role to protect community radio from possible abuses;
That stakeholders at different levels should initiate public awareness campaigns to advocate for public reform in the areas of policy, legislative and regulatory framework and organize appropriate lobbying of executive and legislature organs of government at federal and state levels and other relevant bodies.
That to ensure community ownership and sustainability of community radio in Nigeria, members of host communities should be involved from the onset in the establishment, programme content, editorial management and control; and
that federal government should domesticate and honor its obligations with regard to the African Charter on Broadcasting and other international instruments on community broadcasting.
Issued in Kaduna, Nigeria, this 22 nd day of October 2004.