South African newspaper, Daily maverick says “it’s only Nigerian national security that is undermining Nigerian national security.”
This was contained in its introduction to the report that Nigeria’s broadcast regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined South Africa-owned Multichoice and Nigeria’s Trust TV N5 million each ($12,013.74) for airing a BBC report that allegedly “glorified the activities of bandits and undermines national security.”
The newspaper noted that “armed bandits have kidnapped thousands of Nigerians in just two years. With numbers like that, it’s only Nigerian national security that is undermining Nigerian national security.”
The NBC had in a statement on Wednesday said that the outlets had until August 30 to pay.
The Nigerian owned Trust TV, which was also fined, is part of the group that owns the prominent Daily Trust newspaper. It was fined for its own report on banditry.
“The Commission wishes to seize this opportunity to advise broadcasters to be circumspect and deliberate in the choice and carriage of contents deleterious to Nigeria’s national security,” NBC said in a statement.
The Daily Trust quoted its management as saying, “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.”
The BBC did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment. Multichoice had no immediate comment.
Armed criminals, known locally as bandits, have kidnapped thousands of Nigerians over the past two years.
Free speech and democracy activists in Africa’s most populous country have raised the alarm over what they say are erosions to freedom of expression in recent years, including last year’s ban on social media platform Twitter.
Nigeria has a presidential election in February in which deteriorating security nationwide could play a prominent role.