The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of a documentary on bandits terrorising Zamfara and other parts of the North-West.
The Commission notified the media house of the fine in a letter dated Wednesday, August 3, 2022, and signed by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.
The documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story” was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.
NBC stated that the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.
In its response to the NBC fine, Daily Trust, the parent company of Trust TV, said the documentary was aired in the public interest.
A statement released by the management of Daily Trust read in part, “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 the 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 Zamfara State.”
The statement added that other experts who featured in the documentary include scholars like 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 an extended period.
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammad had earlier threatened that the Federal Government would sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust for glorifying terrorism in Nigeria.
The minister said the documentaries produced by the media houses glorified terrorism and banditry.
BBC Africa Eye published a 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, which offered a close view into the booming kidnap-for-ransom industry, and how Zamfara’s insecurity may have been brought on by the ethnic conflict between Hausa and Fulani groups.
In March, Daily Trust TV, an arm of Daily Trust Newspaper, published a special report and documentary which exposed major issues around banditry in Nigeria.