The Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has threatened to take legal action against the Cable News Network (CNN) over its investigative report on the shooting of EndSARS protesters at the Lekki tollgate.
Naija News reports that CNN had published an investigative report titled, ‘How a bloody night of bullets and brutality quashed a young protest movement in Nigeria,’ claiming soldiers fired live ammunition directly at protesters at the Lekki toll gate.
But Nigeria’s Minister for Information, Lai Mohammed, denied the report of the US-based cable television.
Speaking during a televised press conference, Mohammed called for a sanction on CNN over the report, adding that the report on the Lekki tollgate incident was highly irresponsible.
Maintaining that there was no massacre, he also blamed the CNN report which he said misrepresented information on happenings on the incident which occurred at the Lekki tollgate on October 20.
Reacting in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate’, CNN maintained that it stood by its earlier report on the Lekki tollgate incident.
In a petition dated November 23 and addressed to Mr Jonathan Hawkins VP, Communications, CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia U.S, the federal government demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation into its report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine its authenticity and conformity to basic standards of journalism.”
Lai Mohammed, who signed the petition, said if the US-based media organisation failed to carry out its demand, the Nigerian government will “take any action within its laws’’ to prevent CNN from aggravating the End SARS crisis.
“We write to put on record that the report did not just fall short of journalistic standards; it reinforces the disinformation that is going around on the issue.
“It is blatantly irresponsible, and it is a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.
“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness,’’ the Minister wrote in the petition.
He accused the CNN of failing to exhibit the journalism ethic of balance and fairness in the report but slanted the story to favour the reporter’s desired conclusion.
“Rushing to air such a momentous story without presenting the government’s side is inexcusable and indefensible.
“CNN said it contacted over 100 protesters and family members, but did not speak to one official of Nigeria’s federal government.
“While CNN said there was no response from the army and that officials of Lagos State would not speak in view of the Judicial Panel that is investigating the matter, it did not say what effort it made to speak with any official of the federal government.
“The truth is that CNN did not even attempt to reach the federal government.
“Nima Elbagir, who presented the report and most probably led the investigation, is conversant with the Minister of Information and Culture, who is also the Spokesman for the Federal Government of Nigeria, yet did not say that she even tried to reach the Minister.
“It is therefore strange, to say the least, that she would rush to air such an important ‘investigation’ report without getting the government’s side,’’ he said.
Source: Naija News