The Federal Government has threatened to sanction a foreign media outlet, CNN, over its report on the alleged shooting of End SARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who made this known at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday described the report by the foreign news medium as “irresponsible journalism”. He described the event of October 20, 2020 as a “massacre without bodies.”
Mohammed also insisted that not a single body has been produced or a single family has come out to claim their family member was killed at the Lekki toll gate. The minister also alleged that CNN relied on social media video without verification to produce its report.
“Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going round, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization. “CNN engaged in incredible sensationalism and did a great disservice to itself and to journalism.
“In the first instance, CNN, which touted its report as an exclusive investigative report, sadly relied on the same videos that have been circulating on social media, without verification. “This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that.
“CNN merely said the videos were ”obtained by CNN”, without saying wherefrom and whether or not it authenticated them. “Were CNN reporters and cameramen at the Lekki Toll Gate that evening? If the answer is no, on what basis were they reporting?
“If CNN had done its investigation properly, it would have known how fake news and disinformation were trending during the End SARS crisis. “The BBC even did a report on this, and we recommend that report to CNN. Talking about the BBC, a reporter with the BBC’s Pidgin Service, Damilola Banjo, was at Lekki Toll Gate protest ground that night.
”She was quoted as saying soldiers were indeed at the Toll Gate but they shot ‘’sporadically into the air’’ and not at the protesters. CNN that was not at the scene reported otherwise. “In its jaundiced reporting, CNN was blind to the fact that six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed in unprovoked attacks. “Obviously, CNN did not consider the security agents human enough,” he said.