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‘No fair hearing’ — CDD hits NBC for fining media outfits over documentary on banditry

‘No fair hearing’ — CDD hits NBC for fining media outfits over documentary on banditry
August 06
17:06 2022

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has condemned the fine imposed on Trust Television, MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, TelCom Satellite Limited, and StarTimes Limited for airing a documentary on banditry.

Trust TV, an organisation affiliated to Daily Trust newspaper, had aired a documentary entitled ‘Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story’, in March, while the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Africa Eye released its documentary — ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’ — recently.

The federal government said both media outlets would be penalised for “glorifying terrorism”.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) consequently fined Trust TV N5 million. It also fined MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, TelCom Satellite Limited, and StarTimes Limited the same amount for broadcasting the BBC’s documentary on banditry.

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The CDD, in a statement signed by Idayat Hassan, its director, said it is shocked by the NBC’s action, adding that the media organisations were not given a chance on fair hearing.

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the imposition of the fine on Trust Television and other media outlets by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC),” the statement reads.

“We are particularly alarmed at the speed with which took action without giving the affected media outlets time to respond and defend themselves.

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“As the partner who supported Trust TV in producing the documentary, we unapologetically emphasise that the documentary was done and aired in the public interest. The documentary was based on years of field research, representing all affected communities and proffered pathways to ending the conflict. The calibre of persons featured in the documentary and those who attended the screenings, followed by a panel discussion, only speaks to our genuine interest in finding solutions to the conflict.

“As the country approaches the 2023 general elections, we urge the Federal Government to avoid doing anything that will threaten the media landscape or infringe on the citizens’ right to free speech and the right to know.

“We are shocked to see how the National Broadcasting Commission violated its procedures by not giving the affected media organisations the right to a fair hearing and acting without receiving any written complaints from anybody as required by its law.

“As a regulator, we expect the NBC to act independently and professionally without succumbing to political pressure.”

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