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The Nigerian government has fined a private TV station for airing a documentary about terrorism during which some of the terrorists were interviewed.

The N5 million fine on Trust Tv was imposed by the National Broadcasting Commission, which regulates broadcast stations, according to a statement by the management of the television station.

The fine came a few days after the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, announced that the government would sanction Trust TV and BBC for airing separate documentaries about terrorism during which some of the terrorists were interviewed.

The threat by Mr Mohammed had been condemned by many Nigerians and rights groups including the civil rights group, SERAP.

Undeterred by the public reaction, NBC wrote to Trust TV on Wednesday about the fine.

“The NBC, in a letter to our company dated August 3, 2022, which was signed by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela, said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.

“While we are currently studying the Commission’s action and weighing our options, we wish to state unequivocally that 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,” Trust TV said in its statement on Wednesday.

Read the full statement below.

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of the documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on the 5th of March, 2022.

The NBC, in a letter to our company dated August 3, 2022, which was signed by its Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela, said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.

While we are currently studying the Commission’s action and weighing our options, we wish to state unequivocally that 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 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.

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.

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