Do not threaten the media or infringe on the citizens’ right -CDD warns FG over fine imposed on Trust TV, others

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has denounced the  N5 million fined imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission NBC, on Trust Television for showing documentaries that revealed terrorists and their activities.

Nexus News recalls that the NBC last week, imposed a fine of N5 million each on Trust TV, Multichoice, NTA, TSTV Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV) and NTA-Startimes Limited.

The imposed fine comes as the federal government accuses the media channels of  broadcasting a documentary by the British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) Africa Eye titled ‘Bandits Warlords Of Zamfara’ which is said to allegedly promote terrorist activities.

However, the CDD Director, Idayat Hassan in a statement on Saturday, characterized the move as awful, harsh and suppressive.

Hassan therefore, called on the commission to revoke it immediately.

Hassan added that the fine is a repugnant trial to restrain the media and infringe on citizens’ rights to free speech and information.

According to the statement: “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 took 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, 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.” the statement added.

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