NBC fines Pay TV platforms N20m over documentary on banditry

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

Trust Television Network (TrustTV) 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.

The NBC disclosed this in an issued statement, titled: ‘NBC Sanction PayTV Platforms’, signed by its director-general, Balarabe Shehu Illelah.

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.

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 contents 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; 3.12.2 and 3.11.2. It further 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.

The Commission enjoined broadcasters to be instruments of national unity and desist from falling into antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorise 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”, the NBC added.

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