The Federal Government has protested against the Cable News Network for the way it handled the report of the alleged Lekki shooting by men of Nigerian Army.
The Federal Government while demanding an investigation from CNN into the report, said the foreign new organisation was totally biased in its reportage of the invidein.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed wrote to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications), CNN Centre, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, so aa to “determine, among others, its authenticity.”
The letter which was dated November 23, 2020 and titled, ‘Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’, was witten to CNN office by the Minister.
The letter reads, “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 organisation.”
Acccording to Lai Mohammed, concluding a report without getting information from the government side is totally against journalism ethics 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,” the letter added.
“It is also interesting that while CNN obtained footage showing when the vehicles carrying soldiers left their barracks and arrived at the Lekki Toll Gate, it could not obtain any footage showing the bodies of those supposedly killed in the massacre.
“CNN has said it stands by its story, and that ‘our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched.’ This is baffling, considering that the story lacks fairness and balance,” Lai said.
The Minister also attacked, DJ Switch, saying her her stories on the matter have not been stable.
“From claiming that she counted 78 bodies of protesters who were supposedly killed by soldiers on the night of the Lekki Tollgate incident, she has twice, at least, changed the casualty figure from 78 to 15 and then to 7, without a shred of evidence,” the letter read.
“As a form of remediation, Nigeria’s Federal Government demands an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Tollgate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity, whether or not it met the basic standards of journalism and also the selective use of unverified social media videos to manipulate public opinion. While it is up to CNN to accede or not, please note that the Federal Government reserves the right to take any action within its laws to prevent CNN from aggravating the #EndSARS crisis with unprofessional, irresponsible, one-sided, inciting and sensational reporting that is capable of pitting Nigerians against themselves and setting the country on fire.”r