Cable News Network, CNN, has defended its report of the Lekki shooting investigation following criticism from Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who said the news platform practised “irresponsible journalism” by relying on fake videos sourced from social media to produce its report.
CNN had on Wednesday, released a report on the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll plaza on October 20, 2020, saying it was “carefully and meticulously researched”.
While addressing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, Mohammed said, “Like everyone else, I watched the CNN report. I must tell you that it reinforces the disinformation that is going around, and it is blatantly irresponsible and a poor piece of journalistic work by a reputable international news organization.”
“This is very serious and CNN should be sanctioned for that,” he added.
Reacting today in another story titled, ‘Nigeria threatens CNN with sanctions but provides no evidence Lekki toll gate investigation is inaccurate’, the cable news network said it stand by its earlier report on the Lekki incident.
“Our reporting was carefully and meticulously researched, and we stand by it,” CNN stated.
It added, “The report was based on testimony from dozens of witnesses, and photos and video obtained and geolocated by CNN. It painted a picture of how members of the Nigerian army and the police shot at the crowd, killing at least one person and wounding dozens more.
“CNN verified photos and videos acquired from multiple eyewitnesses and protesters using timestamps and other data from the video files. Video footage shows soldiers who appear to be shooting in the direction of protesters. And accounts from eyewitnesses established that after the army withdrew, a second round of shooting happened later in the evening.
“Prior to publishing the report, CNN tried multiple times to elicit comment from the Nigerian army and police. A Lagos State police spokesman declined to comment because of an ongoing investigation. While a statement from the Lagos State government said that there would be no comment while a judicial tribunal was underway.”