NBC Fines Media Houses Over Documentaries, Trust TV Reacts

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    CEM REPORT | The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a N5 million sanction on the media house that aired the BBC Africa Eye documentary titled, “bandits Warlords of Zamfara.”

    The media houses include Multichoice Nigeria L.td., owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite L.td., TSTV and NTA- Startimes L.td.

    Similarly, Trust-TV Network L.td. was also fined N5 million for its documentary titled: “Nigeria’s Banditary-The inside story.”

    These various reports according to the federal government, have been tagged to glorify the activities of bandits and  National Security in the country.

    Making the announcement, the Director-General of the commission, Malam Balarabe Ilelah, added that the imposed penalties on affected broadcast media platforms and station were to be remitted not later than Aug. 30, 2022.

    He noted that failure to comply with that would lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.

    Explaining the bases for the sanction, he said the documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Sixth edition.

    ”While appreciating the need of educating, informing, and enlightening the public on issues bordering on developments and happenings within and outside the country, the commission wishes to seize this opportunity to advise broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s National security.

    ”Consequently, the airing and carriage of these documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Sixth edition, especially, the underlisted Sections:

    ”3.1.1: no broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime. lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain an offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.”

    The NBC boss, therefore, enjoined broadcasters to be instruments of national unity and desist from falling into the antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorize subversive elements and their activities.

    Every broadcast station or platform is responsible for the content it transmits or transmitted on its platform, and shall be held liable for any content in violation of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.”

    Meanwhile, Trust TV has acted to the fine stating it acted in public interest.

    In a statement, the management of Media Trust Group said “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 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, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who hails from one of the worst hit communities in Zamfara State.”

    The statement added that other experts featured in the documentary include scholars like Professor Abubakar Saddique of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and  Murtala Ahmed Rufai of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, who have both studied the subject of banditry for a long period. The documentary also brought to the fore the horrifying stories of victims of banditry.

    The management said it was studying the commission’s action and weighing our options.

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