Nigerian channel shut for crash report

The Nigerian authorities have banned the private television station whose reporters were the first to find the site where an airliner crashed killing all 117 on board.

    AIT filmed body parts from the crash site in Otta

    Reporters from Lagos-based African Independent Television (AIT) were the first to reveal on Sunday that the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 had come down a short distance outside Lagos in the village of Lissa, a cocoa growing area near President Olusegun Obasanjo's farm in Otta.

    Earlier, several Nigerian officials had incorrectly told journalists that the crash site was in Kishi, a remote rural area 400km further north.

    AIT's report allowed many reporters travelling to the scene to alter course and head for the true location.

    Despite this, a statement from the National Broadcasting Commission accused Nigerian outlets in general of causing "confusion" in the international media through their reporting.

    Temporary measures

    The statement on Monday also said that AIT in particular had been guilty of a breach in reporting standards in its depiction of dismembered bodies at the crash site in a filmed report, and in confirming that no one had survived before receiving an official statement to that effect.

    "The commission is constrained to order the temporary shutdown of the operations of Daar Communications Ltd, operators of AIT National and International and Raypower FM stations, pending further professional assessment of the status of their licences," the statement said.

    AIT television was off air on Monday, as was Daar's popular FM radio station.

    A Daar executive said the station stood by its report and would be appealing against the ban, but would abide by the commission's decision until the dispute was resolved.

    SOURCE: AFP


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