For broadcasting a documentary on terrorism in the Northwest region of Nigeria, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust TV, owned by Media Trust Ltd.
The Nigerian Government had vowed to sanction the BBC and Trust TV for airing documentaries glorifying and fueling terrorism in the country.
Lai Mohammed, the country’s minister of Information and Culture, who made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said the Federal Government was aware of the unprofessional documentary, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting terrorism in the country.
The minister also condemned Trust TV for using its platform to grant an interview to a bandit kingpin, Shehu Rekeb, thereby promoting the activities of terrorists.
However, the management of the TV network, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the N5 million fine was communicated to the media organisation via a letter signed by the NBC Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.
The documentary aired by Trust TV on March 5, 2022, was titled ‘Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story.
The media firm stated: “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 set 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 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,” the statement partly read.