The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called for immediate reversal N5 million naira fine imposed on Trust Television, Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV) and NTA-Startimes Limited, for broadcasting a documentary by the British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) Africa Eye titled ‘Bandits Warlords Of Zamfara.’
A statement signed by CDD director, Idayat Hassan, at the weekend in Abuja, said the imposition of the fines on the media organisations is obnoxious, oppressive and suppressive.
The statement noted that the punitive measure is as a reprehensible attempt to gag the media and infringe on citizens’ rights to free speech and information.
The statement said “We condemn, in the strongest terms, the imposition of the fine on Trust Television and other media outlets by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
“We are particularly alarmed at the speed with which NBC atook action without giving the affected media outlets time to respond and defend themselves.
“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, wea 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.”