EndSARS: Again, FG berates CNN, awaits probe

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The Federal Government again, on Friday, pounced on the United States-based Cable News Network for what it described as an unbalanced report of the #EndSARS protest in the Lekki tollgate area of Lagos, saying it was awaiting the probe.

The government which also made a mockery of the TV channel said after receiving its protest letters, “CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation.”

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who stated these during his meeting with stakeholders organised by the Broadcast Organisation of Nigeria, accused CNN of “un-ambiguity and exhibition of panic.”

According to him, while the government awaited the investigation, it “will not sit by and allow any news organisation, local or foreign, to set Nigeria on fire with irresponsible and unprofessional reporting.”

Mohammed also spoke on the fines imposed on three television stations because of the alleged breach of broadcasting code in the aftermath of #EndSARS protests.

Saturday PUNCH reports that the National Broadcasting Commission had imposed N3m each as fine on Arise TelevisionChannels Television and the African Independent Television for their reportage on the #EndSARS protests and the crisis that ensued.

“Analysts have attempted to muddy the waters by alleging an attempt to stifle the media. This is sheer red herring. The simple truth is that the imposed fines on the three broadcast stations are for using unverified and dangerous information from social media. Two of the stations have paid in full, while one has paid in part,” he stated.

Mohammed said CNN invited trouble when it allegedly resorted to the use of unverified videos, and the non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism.

He said, “The station was also found to be inconsistent. After tweeting, without a shred of evidence, from its verified handle on October 23 that soldiers killed 38 peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, the same station now said only one person was killed – after a month of its investigation. What an embarrassment!

“It is baffling that an organisation like CNN will rely on unauthenticated videos to carry out an investigation. More worrisome is that an international broadcaster like CNN will switch casualty figures so casually without a credible source. This is why we have written a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation. We have received an acknowledgment of our letter, saying the letter has been referred to CNN’s Editorial Team.”

Mohammed added, “We await the outcome of their probe, but that’s without prejudice to whatever we may decide to do as a government. We will not sit by and allow any news organisation, local or foreign, to set Nigeria on fire with irresponsible and unprofessional reporting. Punch

 

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