CABLE News Network, a US-based television station, has been berated by the federal government for its coverage of the #EndSARS protest in the Lekki area of Lagos, saying “CNN breached the most basic of the core principles of journalism – balance and fairness”.
The government also demanded, “an immediate and exhaustive investigation from CNN into its ‘investigative’ report on the Lekki Tollgate incident to determine, among others, its authenticity”.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in his letter to Jonathan Hawkins, VP (Communications) in CNN Centre Atlanta, Georgia.
This is contained in the letter dated November 23, 2020, entitled ‘Re: How a bloody night of bullets quashed a young protest movement’.
“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 Tollgate 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.
“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,” the letter read.