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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Leadership Newspaper vs The Presidency! The saga continues...

To understand what this is about, let me give you a brief summary. Four Leadership newspaper journalists published something they said was a presidential directive on ACN on their website (find it HERE), a few days later, police stormed their office in Abuja and picked them up. Group Managing Director of the newspapers, Azubuike Ishiekwene, said presidency ordered their arrest. The reporters were detained for 48 hours before being released. But two of them, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and Mr. Chibuzo Ukaibe (pictured above) were released conditionally. They have been asked to report at the police headquarters by 10am every day for undisclosed reasons. See Leadership statement about their detention and release HERE

The police wanted the journalist to reveal the source of their story...which claimed that the presidency was planning to scuttle the merger of APC and target key leaders of the emerging political party.

The journalists arrested are: Mrs. Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe, the director of human capital; Mr. Chuks Ohuegbe, managing editor; Mr. Tony Amokeodo, the group news editor; and Mr. Chibuzor Ukaibe, a political reporter.

The presidency has released a statement concerning the matter via presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati. Find the statement after the cut...



State House Press Release
Leadership Newspaper, Media Responsibility and the Police
By Reuben Abati

Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Leadership Newspaper  titled “Statement on the Arrest and Detention of LEADERSHIP journalists” (April 10), the latest episode in the matters arising from the same newspaper’s publication of an alleged “Presidential Directive” which we have had cause to disavow because the basis of the story proved to have been a dubious ‘bromide’ containing nothing more than “a mishmash of carefully arranged and concocted lies, presented to the public as evidence of a document emanating from the presidency.” Yet, the Leadership newspaper insisted that “it stood by its story.”

As a responsible government committed to providing good governance and protecting the rule of law, the rebuttal from the presidency was appropriate; yet its symbolism runs far deeper.  It ordinarily ought to have motivated all concerned with or related to the process and issues contained therein, particularly the publishers and editors, to double check their claims, and where errors had been made, to quickly retract the story.  This would have been in line with the ethics of professionalism, good conduct and unbiased reporting.

This approach reflects the crucial role of a bridge which a best-practice media performs, in the management of the civil engagement between elected officials and the citizenry. Underpinning this social contract is the principle that the freedom of expression goes hand in hand with great responsibility. Given the Leadership Newspaper’s insistence that it stood by its story, questions are automatically raised about professional ethics and the social responsibility of the media, which certainly, by the rules and codes of practice of the various media associations in the country do not accommodate the publication of falsehood, or inciting material, or the abuse of the media’s constitutional mandate. 

The circulation of a fictitious ‘presidential directive’ that seeks in the main to cause civil strife, engender a breakdown of law and order, and negate the values of our democracy is a very grievous act indeed that should not be ignored. At its core, such a disruptive act erodes the ethos of governance and professionalism and naturally stirs up those entrusted with the protection of law and order; as it should also, every responsible citizen, interest group and the entire media. In that regard, President Jonathan did not have to issue any orders before those who have as much constitutional responsibility as the media; that is, the police, see the need to act in the public interest.

Without holding brief for the law enforcement and security agencies, such a publication, like all others that threaten our democracy and undermine law and order, become the duty of the Police as an institution to investigate. The Leadership newspaper should see this as an opportunity to co-operate with the police as required by the laws of the land.  The Police have not done anything outside the law. The trite rule is that nobody is above the laws of the land. It is also within the powers of the Police to invite persons for questioning and to conduct investigations, which is what they have done so far in “The Leadership case”. Or are the editors of the Leadership newspaper insisting that they are above the laws of the land?  

This administration believes in and has demonstrated its commitment to press freedom times over. The Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) was signed by this President into law and under this government the Nigerian print and electronic media has grown in number, reach and in terms of freedom to practise. It will be disingenuous to suggest that there is a clampdown of any sort or an attempt to stifle the press.

Why shouldn't journalists normally cooperate with the police in this instance? We believe that it has to do with the fundamentals of professional ethos that make journalists operate with a different set of loyalties and a different set of outcomes. Yet, there should be no contradiction under normal circumstances where the pursuit of peace and democracy deepening is concerned. This should ordinarily have been an opportunity for the ‘media’ to help our democracy by collectively rejecting the publication of pure falsehood.

As recently as March 12, 2013 in the United Kingdom, detectives working with the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Elveden, an on-going British police investigation into corrupt payments to public officials, placed two journalists under covert surveillance by police investigating corruption and bribery allegations against journalists. This process was considered a crowding out of press freedom with a number of people settling for an open invitation by the police for questioning, as was done in previous invitations with regards to Operation Weeting - covering investigations of The News of the World which led to numerous arrests, detentions and eventual convictions.

The developments at The News of the World, which centre around the resort to illegal means to obtain and/or publish otherwise dubiously obtained information led to the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry, a judicial public inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. The Inquiry published the Leveson Report in November 2012, which reviewed the general culture and ethics of the British media, and made recommendations for a new, independent, body to replace the existing Press Complaints Commission, which would be recognised by the state through new laws. Some of the changes recommended include sweeping measures that will allow police officers to demand information from sources; rights for police to seize materials from the press, changes that may force journalists to reveal whistleblowers' identities; and other rule changes that may define freedom of speech. To show the extent of an ordered approach, part 2 of the inquiry has since been deferred until after criminal prosecutions regarding events at The News of the World are concluded.


In Nigeria, the place of our media is well regarded by the government and its freedom within the law, is regarded as sacred. The Nigerian media is self-regulated and is required to abide by defined codes of ethics. The incident with the Leadership newspapers is not an attempt by the government to muzzle a critical bridge in the societal value chain. Rather, it reflects the professional gaps that need to be bridged within the profession as the media continues to play its very crucial and necessary role in nation-building.

This development therefore offers the media an opportunity for introspection, one that requires an emphasis on the responsibility of a media house as regards issues of ethics and professionalism; and extends in the main to how such a media house builds corporate governance rules to ensure that reckless, unfounded and grossly misleading publications have no place in the esteemed profession and outputs from its stable.

Nigerians fought so hard to end an era whereby serious attempts were made to muzzle the media and our recent history will attest to the heroic role played by the media in our emergent democracy. We intend for that to continue and welcome unfettered contributions, investigations and accountability audit of those holding public office today and tomorrow.

What must not be encouraged is voodoo journalism or the deliberate and malicious attempt to use a medium that is designed to inform to now take on the inglorious task of being a mouthpiece for a narrow agenda based on disinformation, deliberate scaremongering, civil society baiting and the offer of media platform(s) to those hell-bent on causing disharmony through well-woven conspiracies.

This government is proud of its record on press freedom, its relationship with and promotion of access for the media and civil society. The publication of a spurious document and the alarmist approach to the routine invitation extended to the Leadership journalists should of itself provide proof of a choreographed attempt to deliberately cast the administration in bad light; especially given the synchronized communications from the newspaper, the Action Congress of Nigeria, and others.

Once again, we urge the Nigerian public and the media to pay careful attention to those who parade themselves under different garbs and push forth information intended to subvert the cause of peace and order. The Nigerian government remains a committed advocate of a free but responsible media that can and should hold the government to account even as it seeks to educate and inform the citizenry for whom we are all responsible. This is the social contract we are all agreed to, for and on behalf of the Nigerian public.

Dr. Reuben Abati is Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan
April 10, 2013

60 comments:

ayomide adeware said...

Read all ds shit from Abati d nonentity,? God forbid!

★★PRINCE CHARMING™★★ said...

The last time I checked Nigeria was running a democracy and not an authoritarian political system, so why all this? Media freedom and criticism should be given a free hand.
The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism. Prof Wole Soyinka

Anonymous said...

The fuck Ȋ̝̊̅ƨ̣̇ Ʈђi§ ? Fucking too long n̶̲̥̅̊ had τ̅☺ scroll down τ̅☺ the last sentence cos a̶̲̥̅̊m̶̲̥̅̊ sure the whole story must b̶̲̥̅̊ stupid Α̲̅πϑ senseless.

BONARIO NNAGS said...

I don't want to say onething,and my oga at the top will say another. datsall.

~BONARIO~says so via NOKIA3310

Anonymous said...

Abati will you please SHUT THE PHUK UP!! Just zip it, seal it & throw away the keys!! Sick & tired of this two faced hypocrite spewing bullsh*t,shut it!!

Anonymous said...

I pray make I waste my time dey read this rubbish. For what na? This linda sef u get time oh. I hail u. Man must survive, ogoro must jump naim be this ur work.as a sharp warri babe, u no fit carry last, lol. Post it mbok

R4 said...

What's with the harassment of journalist? Reuben Abati and Goodluck Jonathan need to understand that Nigeria is NOT under a military dictatorship. They must stop acting like Abacha and MUST respect the freedom of the press. STOP THE INTIMIDATION OF JOURNALISTS.

Querida lissalyn k Zamani said...

Na them sabi

Intuition! said...

Reuben Abati is A TRAGEDY.

He has Totally Lost IT!

Get Better Shape Click Here said...

ok

promise michealz said...

Anytym I see d name rueben abati, all I can fink of is "dis is d ass dat took my uncles job 4rm him"

Anonymous said...

So all this "dogo turenchi" that Dr. Abati has written boils down to flowery delivery of the same old excuse: Enemies of the govt are using the Press to spread falsehood amongst the populace to cause disenchantment. I've got news for you, Dr. The people are no longer that stupid. We can smell the coffee for ourselves. There is nothing far-fetched about that report! You have been a real let-down, Doc.

Anonymous said...

see as the second guy resemble shem from oga at the top

Eze Chukwumereze said...

*Yawns*(literally) looks like something prince charming would write(no disrespect bro). This Abati guy is an embodiment of lies, so to perfect his deceit, he uses this thesis to justify the presidential order.

Anonymous said...

how do you compare this with what happened at new of the world, this is pure harassment from the Nigerian Government. The stories published were not the cause of the investigations, it was the illegal means by which the NOTW journalists got their stories.
This Nigerian story provoked Johnathan thats why he had the people arrested.

Anonymous said...

Journalists and some media house have turn themselves into propagandists,am not surprise if this so called directive was forged by TINUBU because we all knew his Toronto CERT saga..Forgery is very rampant with ACN ..Lies is their food these days.

boon mayowa said...

And you call this a brief summary?

Anonymous said...

The Grecian aloofness exihibited Abati is a disgrace to journalism. What crime did the reporters comit; if the President believes that the story is false he can seek remedies via the courts. Having the police arrest and threaten these journalist in the cousre of doing their jobs is a low point amomgst others for this
administration.

It will be sardonic and lugubrious if Jonathan does not desist immediately from the harrasment and intimidation of journalists.

Anonymous said...

And if tomorrow another government inter office and arrest abatti or apati,some Nigerians begin the cry for him right?abati,this things wey una dey do Nigeria no good ooooo

Rayenter10ment said...

Let me quote him "Why shouldn't journalists normally cooperate with the police in this instance?" How do you want Journalist to cooperate with the police....Please are our police men fair enough? Just allow these guys to do their work and quit all these stories......

Anonymous said...

Are u guys ok? Can't u see wats happening, leadership lied that they wr privy to sm documents that the presidency is tryn to get apc unregistered which happens to be false.. Why wud a daily like leadership do that that's unprofessional,and an act to bring down the credibilty of the presidency Freedom of information is not Freedom of Misinformation... Ejoo ooo. Cos u hate Gej no mean say mk u no reason

Anonymous said...

Many of these comments show that you guys didn't read the presidential statement. I think you need to read it before passing judgement, your opinion so to speak.

Anonymous said...

If u say forgery i s rampant in CAN. What do you then call PDP? They are bunch of fraud,thieves,low life. Very soon God will catch them all

bukola adeola said...

Bunch of lunatics @the Top,we shall see @2015.so we now run military system of government?na one day be one day,bush meat go catch the hunter.

sexy87dainty said...

Lies!!Lies!!Lies!!! No mata where those journalist got there story the government has no right †̥ treat them dis way. Į̸̸̨ƭ just shows dat d jonathan government ℓ̊s too desperate n makes me wonder if the story the leadership newspaper published i̶̲̥̅̊s̶̲̥̅̊ true. Abati jst shut up wit all u̶̲̥̅̊я̲̣̣̥ lies cos we dnt nid †̥ hear Į̸̸̨ƭ anymore.

Anonymous said...

Linda, hw do u expect me to read diz trash written by a big fool called reuben abati. I tout we run a democratic sys of govt abi dem don change am ni? Pls some one shld tell reuben to go sit his smelling ass some where. Nxt story plz kos I aint intrested in shits like diz. Smh!

Anonymous said...

People need to understand that firstly, Jonathan is not a smart man, so expecting him to make rational choices is not wise. He is quite shallow and not intelligent #fact.
So for people looking for his trouble and saying democracy tinz, freedom of speech tinz, I sorry for una o. E go use local brain attack una. Dont be a martyr for this country, it simply isnt worth it.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing brief in this summary...#yawnss#!!!that's hw u knw someone that is nt intellignt,dy alwys fink lengthy abracadabra can shield their low iq....#Next#

bumble bee said...

I couldn't read it all,but for the few lines I could read I knw this is trash... So where in our law does it say that you should detain journalists?!!! If you are saying you called them in for questioning,we would say fine,but to detain them for 48hrs?!!! Do you think we are back in the military regime?!!! A country where anything can happen and d citizens go about like its none of their business,that's why shit like dis can happen and will keep happening!!! Rueben abati,has obviously sold his soul to the devil.. So he should dine and wine with him

Al Ameen Nigeria said...

Mr Abati, you people need to do survey. You'll realize that Nigerians are tired of this government. 80% of us will only read 4 lines or less out of this jargons you wrote 'cos we've lost interest in anything connected with GEJ. I wish you best of luck sha... Na ur work u dey do.. But bros, u don loose ur integrity since d day u take dis job. Let death come and take you all and give us back Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu bello and Tafawa Balewa.

Anonymous said...

I had so much regards for Reuben Abati but its amazing how much he has changed since becoming the GED's reporter. Shocking!

Anonymous said...

All dis one na grammar abegggg.

Charlz John said...

Manchester United will still win the premier league

Anonymous said...

Rueben Abati is a fraud that can'T be relate with since he join the present government. Abati shut up, and hang urself

Anonymous said...

A bunch of money stealing, vindictive,power loving idiots!
When did the Nigerian police become that smart??
He ordered the arrest because these people have facts #fullstop

Anonymous said...

Noww I think Fani Kayode was right about Reuben Abati, oti Je dodo o Le so ododo mo! Journalists await you after GEJ's tenure.

Naija babe said...

It is very reassuring to know that our leaders and politicians actually read the dailies. But then i guess they choose to see only things dat affects dem and der political interests. Not the rapes,killings,BH,poor power supply,bad roads,accidents,maltreatments,bad governance,etc etc etc. GEJ,Reuben Abati and cohourts, God is watching u all on 3D.

Adegbola Malvins said...

Freedom of the press cannot be over emphasized, it is however sad, that a man like Reuben thinks he can use his writeup to justify the actions of his misled and uninformed boss (Jonathan)... i weep for naija...

Anonymous said...

I didn't bother to read the whole story after I read few lines.. Lol... Why pick them up because they published a story? Nigerians and misuse of power! Linda you are not telling us anything about the Jonathan brothers(boko haram) amnesty

Anonymous said...

Shut up jare.. That's still not a good reason for arrest...

Anonymous said...

Am sure Linda can pick up a document titled "Presidential Directive" from Oluwole and paste it on her blog and expect not to answer any question in the name of press freedom.
I am a trained journalist and the question is who will stop the media from abusing the freedom they have so they do not print fictitious documents as Leadershhip did and hide under the cloak of protecting source?
That is the slippery slope as the media cannot self regulate.

Anonymous said...

Linda done chop money o o, see ads everywhere, na wa o, as 4 d story na true, if not GEJ no go dey interested in d source, he just order abati to debunk d story dats all

Anonymous said...

Bonario dear I love u

Anonymous said...

What most people do not know is that the Publisher of Leadership newspaer, Isaih Ndah is interested in running for the presidency in 2015.So, he is using his medium to discredit the president. He cannot hide under the banner of journalism to run his presidential campaign. he shuld come out in the open and join politicians.

Anonymous said...

See link to the interview of Leadership publisher here,where he decalred he will be contesting the presdiency in 2015.see the last part of the interview-http://newsdiaryonline.com/exclusive-interview-jonathan-is-veryvery-incompetent-sam-nda-isaiah-publisher-leadership-newspapers-confirms-pressure-to-join-presidential-race/

Anonymous said...

Tru yan my broda and chealse will win chanpions league

Anonymous said...

The problem with Nigeria...now whose report will u believe?d bare-faced lying govt and its minions and acolytes everywhere,or d selfish propagandists in d name of d opposition,who wld go to any lenght to carry out a well orchestrated smear campaign?i leave discerning nigerians to judge.

Anonymous said...

N wia is our fundamental human rights????!!!!

Anonymous said...

Its quite sad dat in d end, God will give everyone d same dgree of punishment.And so dese politicians dat do all dese evil will b punishd d same way as me dat'll do only small...ok oh

Tunde Ogunlaja said...

We av heard u sir

Tunde Ogunlaja said...

We have heard u sir

confessor said...

Asin ehn read dis shit!
So linda u call dis brief?lol
So wif d arrest dos it stop
Children frm gettin
Raped and d suspects
Getting bail, dos it stop
Boko haram frm der next
Plan,dos it change divid
Mark mind 2 sign d 20k
Salary 2 unemployed?
Wat a country! So y is he
Moved by wat dey wrote if
Not dat der z a lil bit of
Truth....So if I choose 2
Call gej stupid he wld arrest me bcos he feels he's
Not? Sanusi has done worse(insultin him n abati on twitter)buh he did notin
Bcos dem dey luk face...
Wit d kain sweat wey I
Dey sweat inside my house
Wey light no dey if I
Use am swear 4 gej n abati
E go catch dem

SAMUEL said...

I would have liked it if they were detained for one month or more so as to serve as deterrent for other Journalists who do not always verify their facts before publishing. How can somebody publish rubbish and say it emanated from the Presidency. This serves them right and they should disclose the source of the letter/memo because we have freedom of information bill passed into law.

sarafina said...

@confessor funny one I must say

oisa said...

Abeg oh! Which kind nonsense is this? D president can control every other tins but not the truth on media. Shuo#

Anonymous said...

The whole presidential statement is just a bunch of grammar the has little or no meaning!!!

ANYA IKENGA said...

THOSE JOURNALIST ARE MAD. PUBLISHING FALSEHOOD. LET THEM DO INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM ON BOKO HARAM.

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