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General News of Saturday, 6 August 2022


Reverse N5m fine on Trust TV, 3 others - NGE, other stakeholders ask FG

Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed

The Nigerian Guild of Editors, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and the Media Rights Agenda (MRA), have called on the federal government to reverse the N5 million fine each slammed on Trust Television, DSTV, TSTV and the NTA for airing a documentary on terrorism.

The bodies also condemned the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) decision to fine the media outfits.

The NGE president, Mustapha Isah, who disclosed this while speaking with LEADERSHIP, called for the immediate withdrawal of the fine.

Isah said the government should see the media as partners in progress in its fight against terrorism instead of sanctioning them for performing their constitutional responsibility.

He said, “I have watched the Trust TV documentary severally and I did not see where it glamourised or glorified banditry. In fact, such report can help the government in its fight against terrorism.”

He also stressed the resolve of the Guild not to buckle under any circumstance in its duty of defending and promoting the cause of democracy and press freedom in the country.

Similarly, the BON urged the NBC to withdraw the fines imposed on Trust Television Network and other broadcast organisations for lack of fair hearing and violation of its codes.

The organisation, in a statement by its executive secretary, Dr Yemise Bamgbose, noted that the commission erred in sanctioning the broadcast stations without following its codes.

The BON urged the commission to follow the recommendation of the stakeholders who had advocated a two-layer level disciplinary process, particularly on alleged serious breach of the code and rules of broadcasting as is the practice in other regulatory agencies.

Bamgbose said while the commission could not sanction pay television for what they transmitted, the stipulated period for complaint for the documentary aired on Trust Television had lapsed.

Also, the MRA urged the NBC to rescind its decision to penalise media houses for allegedly broadcasting documentaries on terrorists in Nigeria with a fine of N5 million each.

The programme director of the MRA, Ayode Longe, in a statement, described NBC’s action as unconstitutional and repressive.

The group threatened to take legal action against the commission if the measures were not reversed.

The Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had in the aftermath of the broadcast of the BBC documentary on bandits threatened to sanction the BBC Trust TV.

In response, the BBC had also threatened to release more documentaries on same topic for public viewing.

The Federal Government has not been known to be tolerant of the Nigerian media and social media space.

In June, 2021, the Federal Government had suspended Twitter and in the following months threatened to regulate other social media apps of they failed to conform to the laws of Nigeria.

The suspension of Twitter was only lifted after some months.


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