AFRICA. Nigeria: Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has condemned the National Broadcasting Commission’s decision to fine TRUST TV, DSTV, TSTV, and NTA.
NGE president, Mustapha Isah, demanded the Federal government to withdraw it’s fine immediately while speaking to the local media.
Isah said the government should see the media as partners in progressing the fight against terrorism instead of sanctioning them for fulfilling their constitutional responsibilities.
He said; “I have watched the Trust TV documentary several times and I have not seen where it glamorises or glorifies banditry. Such a report can help the government in its fight against terrorism.”
The Fine was levied on TTN for broadcasting a documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, Trust Television Network (Trust TV), Sub-Saharan Africa direct broadcast satellite service (DSTV) and NTA-Startimes have been fined by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) five million nairas each.
The NBC, in a letter by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela said the fine was caused by a documentary content aired on the 5th of March by the station, which contravened sections; 3.1.1, 3.12.2 and 3.11.2 of the NBC code.
Sections 3.1.1 stated that “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 be disrespectful to human dignity.”
While section 3.12.2 points out that: “The broadcaster shall not transmit a program that incites or is likely to incite to violence among the populace, causing mass panic, political and social upheaval, security breach and general social disorder.”
And section 3.11.2 says, “The Broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a manner depicting that law and order are socially superior to, or more desirable than, crime or anarchy.”
“We Are Weighing Our Options,” Trust TV Reacts To NBC Fine
Reacting to the fine in a statement, the management of Media Trust Group said the company is studying and weighing the options of the fine.
We wish to state unequivocally that as a television station; we believe we were acting in the public interest in shedding light on the thorny issue of banditry and how it is affecting millions of citizens of our country, Trust TV said in a statement.
“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 of the worst hit communities in the Zamfara States said.
NBC, therefore, gave the companies until the 30th of August to respond to the fine or face further action as stipulated in the NBC code of conduct.