FG Writes CNN, Demands Apology Over Lekki Shootings Report

by on November 24, 2020

By Seun Adeuyi

The Federal Government has formally written to the US-based Cable News Network (CNN) over its recent report on the October 20 shootings at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State.

The government had earlier condemned the report, likening it to “a poor piece of journalistic work.”

The condemnation, was however criticised by Nigerians.

The petition, dated November 23, 2020, was signed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and directed to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia.

The letter was entitled ‘Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’

“CNN breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness,” the government wrote.

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It also demanded “an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Toll Gate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity.”

The letter read partly, “Our attention has been drawn to an ‘investigation’ by CNN, entitled ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’ and aired on 18 Nov. 2020, in which the international news organization said it had ”uncovered that Nigerian security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters” at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, during the #EndSARS protest.

“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.

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“In the first instance, the report did not live up to the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness. According to the website www.ethics.journalists.org, “balance and fairness are classic buzzwords of journalism ethics: In objective journalism, stories must be balanced in the sense of attempting to present all sides of a story. Fairness means that a journalist should strive for accuracy and truth in reporting, and not slant a story so a reader draws the reporter’s desired conclusion.”

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