In defence of Trust TV

The message is clear: documentary or film has the power to override our emotions of morals, and it is important to be aware of the process. ~ Joshua Oppenheimer.

Nigeria is not aware and so ‘must be told’. Her president must be told bandits were planning to lay siege on him, he was not aware! The Trust Television Network, Trust TV, must owe him a real life-deal and tell him [and the rest of fellow Nigerians] how others were killed before him, he was not aware! Conversely, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) must also be told the Trust’s documentary is untrusted and contravened the Broadcasting Code, it was not aware! Indeed like the person telling the president is in danger seems unaware of his safety, so is the person telling the NBC to damn Trust TV and impose them a toll also seems unaware of her albatross. At the end, it all brings confused debris exploiting, in the name of patriotism, the country’s Sword of Damocles.

Kadaria Ahmed I mean, and can’t be patient. In her ‘new soldier’ of Wednesday, 27 of the penultimate month, she favoured ‘professional dogma’ over life, and mismatched the former with ‘act’ rather than a ‘cause’ of killings. Whereas the ‘act’ suggests a portrayal of brutal operation of criminality and the infernal character of perpetrators, the ‘cause’ shifts a focus on victims and victimology. Both ‘act’ and ‘cause’ can be understood from the perspective of intent and purpose and could be professionally applied to unhide the darkest truth hitherto unheard of, more so when this is done in the interest of the larger public.

To Kadaria, this is far from correct because, the argument of Toronto Mahmoud Eid she appealed to, about the ‘relationship’ between media professionals and terrorists, seems peculiar to her views, therefore unchallenged. The problem of professional dogma being employed by the likes of Kadaria is that, it tends to portray reality as far more evil than even the greatest villains labouring crimes and genocide. There’s nothing a ‘relationship’, for example, between the Trust TV and bandits as such, and if so there’s, Kadaria too, must have maintained a relationship with Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) whom she interviewed in July, 2017, in which acts of terrorism and media profession joined hands together in the declaration of ‘Biafra ‘life or death’! Yet, Kadaria is brave to have boldly emphasised in her article, “there must be no interviews with perpetrators during acts of violence”!

She disapproved of its significance and disparaged that the documentary has helped nothing as the ‘inept’ government of President Muhammadu Buhari is not ready to follow suit. She ridiculed interviewing terrorists as the only way of making the public understand the state of insecurity and cautions instead, the grave danger in making the self-confessed murderers feel even more appealing to their act of crime.

While they appeared to have provoked the BBC, Kadaria’s views sing sweet on the ears of NBC, now imposing a N5m fine on Trust TV over its recent documentary, “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story” aired on March 5, 2022. And because, they’re not told, they must have thought that the Trust TV’s documentary is an all-inclusive paint of Kadaria’s imagery! Kadaria must have attested to the fact that the Trust’s documentary did not significantly oppose to her conviction to a German Code, which says:

“In reporting actual and threatened acts of violence , the press should carefully weigh the public’s interest in information against the interest the interest of victims and other people involved. It should report on such incidents in an independent and authentic way, but not allow itself to be made the tool of criminals. Nor should it undertake independent attempts to mediate between criminals and the Police”.

Indeed this is not quoted from Nigerian Code despite the possibility of its universal significance, and it must be unfair if NBC only imposed fine on Trust TV in accordance with the quoted German Code.

Besides, it’s not always bad interviewing terrorists if the intent is clear and purposeful. Terrorists and terrorist organisations all over the world have been interviewed by journalists and their voices have been hard often, documentaries on their heinous acts even more often than not. This does not also suggest that doing so is solidifying their invincibility but simply as one of the widely suggested approaches to conflict resolution. This position is widely recognised and no one would like to mismanage his time proving it.

In a moment when the line between fact and fiction seems ever so tenuously drawn in public discourse including media platforms, the question of how to depict the horrors of genocide and crimes against humanity to audiences in a meaningful and candid way has a new urgency.

Ismail Misbahu,

Bauchi, Bauchi state

[email protected]

Related content you may like