The National Broadcasting Commission has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of the documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on the 5th of March, 2022.
The Trust TV management, in a statement to The PUNCH on Wednesday, noted that the fine was communicated to the media firm in a letter signed by the NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.
Illela had said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.
Trust TV further 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, 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.
“The documentary also brought to the fore the horrifying stories of victims of banditry.”
Last Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that the Federal Government would sanction Trust TV and BBC for “terrorism glorification” in their documentaries.
Mohammed said the Federal Government is aware of the “unprofessional” documentary by the BBC, Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting “terror” in the country.
He condemned the BBC for not “upholding the same standards and tenets” as they would have done in the UK.
The minister said that the BBC is a foreign medium and not under NBC regulations. Notwithstanding, sanctions will be meted out to the medium.
Following Mohammed’s assertion, several groups and Civil Society Organisations faulted the FG’s move to sanction the media outlets.