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Documentary on banditry: FG slams N5m fines on DSTV, Trust TV, Startimes, others

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Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV and Trust TV, NTA-Startimes Limited and TelcCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), were on Wednesday fined N5 million each by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the broadcast of a documentary titled, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”.

According to the federal government, the documentary which was aired by the stations on March 5, 2022, “glorified the activities of bandits and undermines national security in Nigeria.”

Persecondnews recalls that BBC, Trust TV and the others recently aired documentaries showing interviews with bandit warlords.

Few days after the documentary was aired, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, threatened that the federal government would sanction the stations for airing documentaries that allegedly “glorify, promote, and fuel’’ terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.

A statement by NBC Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, and obtained by Persecondnews reads: “The National Broadcasting Commission, today, August 3, 2022, imposed a Five Million Naira (N5,000,000.00) sanction, each, on Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV); NTA- Startimes Limited; for the carriage of the documentary by the BBC AFRICA EYE titled, ‘BANDITS WARLORDS OF ZAMFARA’ which glorified the activities of Bandits and undermines National Security in Nigeria.

“Trust-TV Network Limited was also fined Five Million Naira (N5,000,000.00) for its documentary titled: ‘NIGERIA’S BANDITRY-THE INSIDE STORY’.

“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 offensive reference to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity”

3.12.2: “The broadcaster shall not transmit a programme that incites or likely to incite to violence among the populace, causing mass panic, political and social upheaval, security breach and general social disorder; and

3.11.2: “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.’’

NBC, however, threatened that if by the end of August 2022 the fines were not paid, more sanction would be imposed on the erring stations as provided for in the Code.

“The imposed penalties on these Broadcast Media platforms and Station is to be remitted not later than August 30, 2022. Failure to comply with this will lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Code.

“Broadcasters are enjoined to be instruments of National unity and desist from falling into antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorize subversive elements and their activities.

“Please note that 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,’’ NBC stated.

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