The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV), a subsidiary of Media Trust Ltd., over the broadcast of a documentary titled ‘Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story’, which was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.
The fine comes five days after Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, reaction to a documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), said the Federal Government would sanction BBC and Trust TV over their documentaries on terrorism in Nigeria.
In a statement addressing the fine on Wednesday, the management of Trust TV said that the NBC informed them of the decision in a letter signed by Balarabe Shehu Illela, its director.
According to Trust TV, Illela said the fine was imposed because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.
“While we are currently studying the commission’s action and weighing our options, we wish to state unequivocally that, as a television station, we believe we were acting in the public interest by shedding light on the thorny issue of banditry and how it is affecting millions of citizens of our country,” the statement reads in part.
“The documentary traces the root of the communal tensions and systemic inadequacies which led to the armed conflict that is setting the stage for another grand humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. It presents insights into the intersection of injustice, ethnicity and bad governance as drivers of the conflict. It also aggregates voices of experts and key actors towards finding solutions, including those of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who hails from one the worst-hit communities in Zamfara State.
“Other experts featured in the documentary include scholars like Professor Abubakar Saddique of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufai of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, who have both studied the subject of banditry for a long period.”
While hinting on the sanctions to come, last week, Lai had said: “When otherwise reputable platforms like the BBC give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they’re Nollywood stars. I want to assure them that they won’t get away with it. The appropriate sanctions will be meted.
“Let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria. All I can say is that there is a regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and they are also aware of these incidents and are looking at which part of the broadcasting codes have been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust.
“All I can say is that there is a regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and they are also aware of these incidents and are looking at which part of the broadcasting codes have been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust.
“But I can assure you that there will be consequences. For those who will argue that BBC is a foreign broadcaster and as such, it is not licensed by NBC, let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.”
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