Let me start by congratulating the board and management of HIT (95.9) FM on the launch of the radio station in Calabar yesterday. I saw the Speaker of Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon John Gaul Lebo, member representing Ogoja state constituency, Hon Peter Odey, former Commissioner for Information, Hon. Patrick Ugbe, multiple award winner (musician and producer) Don Jazzy and others pose for photographs on the launch of HIT FM shared on Facebook.
For me, this is a dream come true! This is because I had hoped and prayed fervently for such a day as this when a private radio and television station will take up our airwaves and deliver credible content aside the useless propaganda of the only radio and television station (CRBC) owned by government, which has a reputation for churning out stale news and obituary announcements.
I had written in the past, urging stakeholders in Cross River State politics to see the need to invest in this area of information and communication management in order to deepen the political conversation and democratic values in the state, but somehow nothing happened.
At CRWatch Resources, publishers of www.crossriverwatch.com, we had spoken about the need for alternative sources of information, news, and entertainment with my publisher, Mr Agba Jalingo, and he had approached politicians and tried to talk them into investing in this area but no magic happened!
He expressed his frustration to me in this respect but instead of letting this idea just die for lack of sponsors, we had encouraged and assured ourselves that someday soon in the nearest future, we’ll have CRWatch radio and television airing in Cross River State and environs and we have gone ahead to launch both of them online.
So for us at CRWatch, we are not intimidated by this feat, but we’re rather challenged to work hard to ensure that our dream of an alternative terrestrial radio and television media platform is established to provide robust alternative news, information, and entertainment radio and television platform like we did with www.crossriverwatch.com which is the first online news media portal in Cross River State.
Why did it take this long for us to have a private radio station in our state?
Some people have accused previous administrations in Cross River State of deliberately working against us having an alternative radio and television and that the last administration even turned down private radio and television licenses just to keep the state and her people under the firm grip of the PDP government.
Whether or not the above statement is true is inconsequential right now. However, let me be quick in stating that that decision if true, left us all as losers.
Never again shall our individual inglorious political expediency and bad politics conspire to keep our people ‘deformed’.
Democracy can only thrive in an atmosphere of competing ideas, superior and alternative arguments and this can only be brought about through the liberalisation of media houses that will inform, mobilise, and engage the people productively.
In the days ahead, we hope and pray that many more people will see the need with the launch and operation of HIT (95.9) FM, to also establish other media outlets that will create jobs and deepen the political conversation in our dear state and nation.
Kennedy Nsan is CrossRiverWatch reporter and writes from Ife
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