The Sun News

Presidency accuses The Sun, other media, of promoting hate speech

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja |

The Presidency has accused The Sun Newspaper of promoting “hate speech”, decrying a columnist with Saturday Sun of alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari was the first to endorse the Benue massacre on New Year Day.

Addressing State House Correspondents in the Presidential Villa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, appealed to the media to show more decorum and professionalism in the reportage of security and humanitarian situation in the country.

Saturday Sun recalled that the federal government had on January 25th giving marching orders to the relevant security agencies to, as a matter of urgency, tackle the propagation of hate speech, especially through social media, particularly by some notable Nigerians.

The order was given after the nation’s security chiefs met to review  efforts aimed at ending the spate of insecurity across the country.

While holding up a copy of Saturday Sun, with the caption “’Expect More Blood in Benue…”, Shehu described as unfortunate what he called a growing lack of respect for journalism ethics and press laws in the Nigerian media, especially regarding the clashes in Benue State.

He said the frequent expressions of hate speech published by newspapers, in news stories, and especially in columns, is indeed a source of concern to all.

He regretted that, despite repeated appeals by recognised and reputable media bodies, the Government and concerned Nigerians, a segment of the Nigerian media is sinking deeper into the mesh of hate speech.

The Presidential media aide, urged the media to recall what happened in Rwanda before the genocide of the early 90s, during which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost as a result of consistent hate speech spewing from that country’s media.

Shehu said:

“I am here this afternoon to address you on some pressing issues concerning our noble profession and to appeal that members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm should show more decorum and professionalism in the reportage of security and humanitarian situation in the country.

“The growing lack of respect for journalism ethics and press laws in the Nigerian media, especially regarding the clashes in Benue State, is very unfortunate.

“The frequent expressions of hate speech published by newspapers, in news stories, and especially in columns, is indeed a source of concern to all.

“We want to state emphatically that a segment of the Nigerian media is sinking deeper and deeper into the mesh of hate speech in spite of repeated appeals by recognised and reputable media bodies, the Government and concerned Nigerians.

“Unfortunately, self-regulation which is the norm in civilized societies has taken flight from many of our newsrooms.

“For instance, a recent column published in a national newspaper (The Sun newspaper), said ‘‘President Muhammadu Buhari was the first to endorse the Benue massacre’’ on New Year Day. The same columnist described the  Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali as “a dyed-in-the-wool Fulani irredentist who places trade over and above human life.” The diatribe went further to invite citizens of the country to arm themselves and fight each other. In addition, one of the newspaper’s Saturday headlines proclaimed: ‘Expect More Blood in Benue…’

“Apart from the basic tone of respect expected from an individual who is supposedly intelligent and educated enough to know better since they have been granted space to write in a national newspaper, there is the risk of inciting the public to actions that will have gory consequences for the entire nation for generations to come.

“Those beating the gongs of war and fanning the embers of discord must remember what prevailed in Rwanda before the genocide of the early 90s, during which hundreds of thousands of lives were lost as a result of consistent hate speech spewing from that country’s media.

“We must learn to express our grievances and criticisms without resorting to gutter language or to name calling, and the press has a responsibility to maintain that even if it means calling their columnists to order.

“President Buhari, by the Constitution, has the primary duty of protecting life and property and that is what he has been doing in Benue and across the country.

“Calling him a murderer is not only grossly disrespectful but unfair, especially when the President has written a letter to the Senate detailing his efforts to quell the crisis in Benue State, including dispatching the Minister of Interior and the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations for an on the spot assessment of the situation in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident; and receiving a direct briefing from the IG the following day.”

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

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4 Comments

  1. Ezekiel Okeke 2nd February 2018 at 5:34 pm

    The fulani criminal terrorist hidden under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria Bloody Political War with natives of this territory of the natives is already all-over this territory of the natives- South East, South South, South West, North East, North West, North Central in which the natives media which is professionally neutral is not expected to excluded in the enemy’s attacks. The enemy has lost the war with natives of this territory of the natives- fulani criminal terrorists hidden under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria Political Control over this territory of the natives is over and must be erased with the Sword in this territory of the natives under Disintegrated Republics of the natives. God given Liberation has come, God given Freedom has come. God Is With Us!!!

  2. Tony 2nd February 2018 at 7:34 pm

    If only this APC government knows how much nigerians hate it. To nigerians the party has proven to be a terrorist organisation. A party that has given cover to a terrorist group called fulani herdsmen.
    Come 2019 APC will be roundly voted out of power .

  3. Mercy 2nd February 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Is Shehu deaf to the threat the Myelti Alla head in Abuja has been spewing out following the implementation of Anti grazing law in Benue. Would he call that a unifying speech.
    We are now reading that 4 hrs after sounding an alarm a village in Taraba was attacked with the loss of at least four lives.
    When will the IG spring into action and pull in the DPO and make arrests just like he did when Fulanis were killed in Gboko or are these lives not worth the same as the Fulanis.
    He wants details of when the DPO heard about the attack and how long it took for him to respond,
    I hope the same applies in Taraba, at least we have been told that four hours elapsed before the attack, what did the police do when the alarm was raised.
    If this government really wants to tackle these killings, they should set up a national telephone line manned round the clock for people to report suspicious people and behaviour with well armed rapid response teams in every state particularly if Idris wants militias disarmed. There must be some kind of challenge to theses Fulani murderers.

  4. Ezekiel Okeke 2nd February 2018 at 9:21 pm

    The enemy would expected media of the natives to their terrorism mercenaries, the way the brainwashed illiterate fools nickname military, police etc. are their terrorism mercenaries. The enemy has lost the war- fulani criminal terrorists hidden under the dead fraudulent political name Nigeria Political Control over this territory of the natives is over and must be erased with the Sword in this territory of the natives in the ongoing Revolution War of the natives under Disintegrated Republics of the natives- Biafra Republic of south east, Niger Delta Republic of south south, Oduduwa Republic of south west, North East Republic, North West Republic, North Central Republic. It is God given Liberation, it is God given Freedom. God Is With Us!!!

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