The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined Multichoice Nigeria Ltd, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV), NTA-Startimes Limited, and local channel Trust TV a hefty sum of Five Million Naira (5,000,000.00) each for airing the BBC African Eye documentary titled, “Bandit Warlords of Zamfara,” which reveals the secrets behind most of the bandit attacks in state.
The NBC believes that the BBC report glamorises the activities of bandits and undermines national security in Nigeria. They also caution broadcasters to exercise extreme caution in their efforts to educate, inform, and enlighten the public on issues concerning developments and happenings both within and outside the country.
The Commission wishes to seize this opportunity to advise broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s national securityIn a statement by Nigerian Broadcasting Commission
In the statement issued on Wednesday, the National Broadcasting Commission stated that the media sources had until August 30 to pay.
This is not the first time the commission has issued this warning. In July 2021, the NBC issued a warning to broadcasting stations regarding their coverage of terrorism and banditry. They advised that these media platforms to be cautious in their reports as disclosing too many details degrades the national security agencies’ efforts.
Concerns have been raised over the years about Nigeria’s policy and regulations governing freedom of expression. With the world changing and the arrival of the Fourth Republic, hope for a more democratic era of free speech and the rule of law filled the hearts of many individuals. However, the events that follow show a halt in the progression.
In 2020, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, the Minister of Information, repealed and re-enacted the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Code to include “hate speech.” Following this, in October 2020, the commission fined Africa Independent Television (AIT), Arise TV, and Channels Television for alleged “unprofessional coverage” of the EndSARS protests and the Lekki Shooting.
On June 4, 2021, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended Twitter’s operation in the country after the microblogging platform deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet about the unfortunate Biafran civil war, remarking that those misbehaving today would be treated “in the language they understand.”
Nigerians were taken aback by the retaliation, as hate speech is a indeed serious offense in the country. However, according to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, the ban was imposed due to “the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.”
Broadcasting stations responses
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.Management of Daily Trust
This story is overwhelmingly in the public interest and the BBC stands by its journalismBBC in an emailed statement
According to the Reuter’s report, Multichoice had no comment.
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