Use of Unverified Videos Land CNN in Trouble – Lai Mohammed
Nigeria’s government on Friday asked Cable News Network (CNN) to admit that it goofed in its report on the shooting of #EndSars protesters by the Nigerian Army at the Lekki Toll Gate, saying relying on unverified videos to make its report caused the network an embarrassment.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the use of unverified videos, and the non-adherence to the basic tenets of journalism have combined to land an international broadcaster, CNN, in trouble. This station has been caught in the web of fake news and disinformation, after it relied heavily on videos it took from social media for a supposed exclusive investigation on the incident at the Lekki Toll Gate on 20 October”, said Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed on Friday.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ meeting with members of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) in Abuja, Mohammed insisted that the CNN report was not only found to be inconsistent but an embarrassment.
CNN had last week published a report entitled, ‘How a Bloody Night of Bullets Quashed a Young Protest Movement’, aired on 18 November, 2020.
The CNN had also in an earlier report claimed that soldiers used live bullets and killed 38 peaceful protesters, an allegation the military refuted over and over again, saying the soldiers deployed to the scene only fired blank bullets into the air.
CNN on Friday however issued clarification over its earlier report on the death of 38 persons at the Lekki toll gate, saying “Clarification: This tweet from October 23 did not attribute the death toll from protests in Nigeria to Amnesty International. The tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.
Mohammed responded that the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnified the failure or inadequacy of the nation’s broadcast organisations.
He said “Since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation. But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy.
“Yesterday, 26 November in the clearest indication yet of its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify its tweet of October 23rd by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty International and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.
“Commentators on the tweet tried to redirect CNN to the issue: which is its tweet of 23 October in which it said ‘’At least 38 people were killed in Nigeria on Tuesday (Oct. 20th) when the military opened fire on peaceful protesters.’’ This is very unambiguous and CNN is exhibiting panic by seeking to clarify its tweet some 35 days later!
“Instead of engaging in such panic, CNN should come clean by admitting that it goofed badly on the Lekki Toll Gate incident.’’
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