NBC fines DSTV, Trust TV, others N20m over documentary on banditry

National Broadcasting Commission NBC DG Balarabe Ilelah

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Multichoice Nigeria Limited (DSTV), TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), and NTA-Startimes Limited N5 million each for broadcasting a documentary by the BBC Africa Eye titled, “Bandits Warlords Of Zamfara”.

The commission also fined Trust Television Network (Trust TV) N5 million for the March 5 broadcast of another documentary titled, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the NBC director-general, Balarabe Ilela, spelt out the sanctions.

The Federal Government had last week said it would sanction Trust TV and BBC for “terrorism glorification” in their documentaries. BBC, which is not regulated by the NBC, is not included in the sanction announced on Wednesday.

According to the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, the interviews granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs promote terror.

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 advised broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of content deleterious to Nigeria’s national security.

Consequently, NBC said the airing and carriage of these documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code (sixth edition).

The relevant sections cited include “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 said the imposed penalties on the broadcast media platforms and station was to be remitted not later than August 30, 2022.

It said failure to comply will lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Code.