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Media Trust reacts to NBC’s N5m sanction, insists Trust TV acted in public interest

Media Trust reacts to NBC’s N5m sanction, insists Trust TV acted in public interest

The management of Media Trust Group has reacted to the sanction slammed on its online television, TV Trust, by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Wednesday.

The Group said “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 management said it was studying the commission’s action and weighing its options.

“The documentary traces the root of the communal tensions and systemic inadequacies, which led to the armed conflict that is setting 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, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who hails from one of the worst hit communities in Zamfara State.”

The statement added that other experts who 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 NBC on Wednesday slammed a N5 million fine on Trust Television Network (Trust TV), owned by Media Trust Group, over the broadcast of a documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on March 5, 2022.

The documentary was produced after months of investigations intended to trace the roots of the raging banditry and provide policymakers insight into possible means of ending the carnage.

The decision by the broadcasting regulator sparked widespread condemnation with many industry stakeholders and other Nigerians condemning the federal government agency over what some of them described as “gagging of the press” and denying Nigerians the right to know.

The NBC communicated the sanction through a letter dated August 3, 2022, which was signed by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.

The commission said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because the broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the NBC management also slammed a N5 million fine on each of MultiChoice Nigeria (owners of DSTV), Telcom Satellite Limited (owners of TSTV) and NTA-Startimes Limited (owners of StarTimes) for airing a similar documentary by the BBC Africa Eye titled, “The Bandits Warlords of Zamfara”.

The commission alleged that the documentaries “Glorified activities of bandits and undermines national security”.

NBC said the imposed penalties on the broadcast media platforms and station is to be remitted not later than August 30, 2022.

“Failure to comply with this will lead to the imposition of a higher sanction as provided in the Code,” it added.

It said broadcasters are enjoined to be instruments of national unity and desist from using their platforms to promote and glamorise subversive elements and their activities.

The sanction followed a threat by the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who at a news conference last Thursday pledged that Trust TV and the BBC would be sanctioned for airing the two documentaries.

Share your thoughts on the story Media Trust reacts to NBC’s N5m sanction, insists Trust TV acted in public interest with Nigerian Sketch in the comments section.

Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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