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Amnesty International calls Rivers govt’s shutdown of AIT, Raypower an attack on press freedom



The Rivers State Government’s recent decision to close down Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM Radio in Port Harcourt has sparked criticism from Amnesty International, which sees it as a direct assault on media freedom.

This move involved the deployment of telecommunications experts hired by the state government, who were accompanied by armed security personnel. In response to this development, Amnesty International Nigeria’s Country Director, Isa Sanusi, issued a statement on September 5, 2023, vehemently denouncing the actions of the Rivers State government. In this statement, Amnesty International called for a thorough investigation into this attack on the media.

Sanusi’s statement read as follows: “Amnesty International unequivocally condemns the Rivers State government’s brazen closure of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM radio operations in Port Harcourt.”

“This clampdown by Rivers state authorities is an attack on media freedom.

“The brazen dismantling of masts and the use of bulldozers to demolish the Transmitter Complex at the DAAR Communications Broadcast Centre in Port Harcourt bear all the hallmarks of a witch hunt — and utter contempt for the independent media.

“The attack on AIT/Raypower is clearly intended to send a chilling message that media and journalists need to self-censor or face dire consequences. The Nigerian authorities must investigate this shocking attack on media freedom by the Rivers state government.”