There is no realistic hope of recovering unpaid salaries and bills from the failed London and New York-based Nigerian TV channel Arise, unions have concluded. Many journalists, technicians and production companies are owed large amounts of back pay, which the company has promised again and again will eventually be honoured.
Media technical union Bectu was preparing court action against Arise on behalf of 60 unpaid behind-the-camera employees but pulled out last month, telling members that there was no hope of recovering their salaries. A post-production company in Soho told Private Eye magazine that after chasing payment for ages, it had written off the money it was owed.
One company severely hit will be Richard Sambrook’s DMA Media. The former BBC global news chief’s firm provided long-term editorial support to Arise, supplying a “30-strong team of wolrd-class journalists” to the London end of the operation, and has filed a winding-up petition against Arise Network Ltd.
In Lagos, meanwhile, Arise’s media mogul owner Nduka Obaigbena has sacked more tha half the staff at his This Day newspaper. Obaigbena was released on bail last month after agreeing to refund the £2.5m he received from Nigeria’s national security adviser Sambo Dasuki, who is currently on trial for misusing funds earmarked for tackling Boko Haram.
Despite these woes, Arise TV continues to broadcast in UK, although it has been known to go off air occasionally.
This report is from the print edition of Private Eye magazine.