NBC fines DSTV, NTA, others N20m over documentary on banditry 

Solomon Chung, Abuja 

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

 

Trust Television Network (Trust TV) owned by Media Trust Limited was also fined N5 million for the broadcast of another documentary titled, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

 

In a statement titled, ‘NBC Sanction PayTV Platforms’ issued on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, and signed by its Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Illela, the regulatory authority declared that the airing and carriage of these documentaries, contravened the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Sixth edition.

 

The NBC believes its action was in national interest and in compliance with the broadcast code. The body then enjoined broadcasters 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.

 

Recall that last week Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that the Federal Government would sanction Trust TV and BBC for “terrorism glorification” in their documentaries.

 

Mohammed said the federal government was aware of the “unprofessional” documentary by the BBC Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting “terror” in the country.

 

The Commission further advised broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s national security.

 

The relevant sections cited by the NBC 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 added that failure to comply will lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Code.

 

“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,” the Commission added.

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