For showing a BBC program about bandit gangs who invade communities and abduct for ransom in Nigeria’s northwest, three broadcasters have been fined $12,000 apiece.
Sanctions have been imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission against Multichoice Nigeria Limited, which owns DSTV, TelCom Satellite Ltd and NTA-Startimes, a partnership between the state-run channel and China’s Star Group, according to a press release issued on Wednesday afternoon.
“Bandit Wars of Zamfara,” a BBC Africa Eye documentary that interviewed bandit leaders and victims to examine the sources of violence in northwest Zamfara state, was the subject of the fines.
Trust TV’s documentary, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story,” was also penalized $12,000 by the commission.
According to the NBC statement, “broadcasters are encouraged to be instruments of national unity and desist from falling into antics of using their platforms to promote and glamorize subversive elements and their activities.
Films were deemed to have broken broadcasting regulations.
There had previously been a threat of retaliation against both the BBC and Trust TV for a documentary that the government had accused the two media organizations of glorifying terrorism and banditry.
Despite the fact that it claimed the Bandit Wars of Zamfara report was overwhelmingly in the public’s best interest, the BBC maintained it stood by its findings.
Bandits, armed criminal militias in Nigeria’s northwest and north central states, are terrorizing rural areas with looting raids, kidnappings, and attacks.
Bandit militias have been classed as terrorist groups in Nigeria to give the military more leeway in dealing with them.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the violence.
After Twitter removed a message from President Muhammadu Buhari’s account last year, Nigeria was slammed internationally for violating the platform’s free speech guidelines by shutting down the service for seven months.
Twitter has been criticized by Nigerian officials for allowing separatist agitators in the country’s southeast to post on the platform.
The suspension was removed after the Nigerian government demanded stronger restrictions for Twitter to function in Nigeria.
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