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NBC fines Trust TV, DStv, TStv, NTA N20m for airing documentary on banditry

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
04 August 2022   |   4:06 am
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of a documentary, titled: ‘Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story,’ aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC)

National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of a documentary, titled: ‘Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story,’ aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

Also fined N5 million were NTA-StarTimes Limited, MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DStv and TelCom Satellite Limited (TStv) for broadcasting a documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Africa Eye, titled, ‘Bandits Warlords of Zamfara.’

The NBC, in a letter dated August 3, 2022, signed by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela, said the fine was imposed because the documentaries contravened the provisions of the Broadcasting Code.

Illela quoted a section of the code as saying: “No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference to any person or organisation, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity.”

In a statement, yesterday, Ahmed I. Shekarau, Executive Director, Business Development
Media Trust Group, said: “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 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 the worst hit communities in Zamfara State.

“Other experts who featured in the documentary include scholars like Prof. 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. The documentary also brought to the fore the horrifying stories of victims of banditry.”