CNG threatens boycott of MultiChoice over exclusion of the North

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has threatened to organise and enforce a boycott of MultiChoice services in the Northern region, as it accused the owners and operators of  Nigeria’s leading television broadcast signal distributor, DSTV, of lopsidedness against northern-based media stations.

The group said it would not hesitate to embark on the boycott, unless MultiChoice shows readiness to embrace content diversity towards national growth and development, which will be of benefit to the North.

The group said in MultiChoice’s nearly three decades of operation in Nigeria, raking in billions of naira in revenue every year from northern and southern individuals and corporate organisations, it has remained steeped in gross favouritism towards southern-owned TV companies, while being insensitive to the need for inclusion of northern-owned TV and radio organisations on its premium DSTV platform.

The union said it has petitioned the National Broadcasting Commission, Chairman, Senate Committee on Communication, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCP) and High Commission of the Republic of South Africa.

According to a statement issued by the group’s National Coordinator, Balarabe Rufai, the company’s practices are arcane and secretive, and patently bereft of transparency in terms of its channel onboarding policy.

He argued that DSTV alone offers about 135 TV channels, ranging from news, sport, entertainment and religion, but not a single northern-owned TV or Radio channel on-board.

He argued that MultiChoice Nigeria’s policy deliberately excludes private TV broadcast entities from the North, most of which broadcast news and current affairs as well as infotainment programmes in Hausa and English, which cuts across a wide range of viewers across diverse communities in Nigeria, the West African sub-region and parts of the Middle-East Africa region.

“Probably as a tokenistic gesture, the GOTV, a DTT arm of MultiChoice, has two private northern-owned TV channels out of about 82 others,” he added.

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