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Following the massive outrage over the publication on the rising spate of terrorism in Nigeria by the BBC and Daily Trust, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has finally come out to kick against the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust over documentaries on terrorism.
The body had also asked the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari to instruct Information Minister, Lai Mohammed to withdraw it.
Mohammed had said the government would sanction the BBC and Trust Tv for airing “promoting terrorism and banditry” in Nigeria.
In a letter dated July 30, 2022 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, he condemned the position of the authorities. It had also stressed that the media had a duty to inform citizens on issues of public importance, especially about the growing violence and killings.
SERAP said rather than punishing the media, the government should focus on delivering its promises to ensure the security of Nigerians.
“Carrying out the threat to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust would lessen the flow of diverse viewpoints and information to the public.
“A free press is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression and the enjoyment of other rights”, the letter added.
SERAP announced that it would take appropriate legal actions if the government failed to heed its call.
It had been reported that the Federal Government has sworn to sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Trust Tv for airing respective documentaries which according to them was glorifying and fuelling terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this vow in an interview with newsmen in Abuja which was monitored by Africa Today News, New York.
He pointed out that the Federal Government is aware of the unprofessional documentary by the BBC programme, Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs.
He condemned the BBC for not upholding the same standards and tenets as they would have done in the United Kingdom.
The minister also condemned Trust Tv owned by Media Trust for using its platform to grant interview to a bandit kingpin, Shehu Rekeb, thereby promoting activities of terrorists.
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According to him, both platforms by their actions have become accomplices to terrorists and bandits in the name of reporting.
The minister said the appropriate regulatory body was already looking at the infractions and appropriate sanctions would be meted to both platforms.