Retract your fake news against us now or face litigations, DSS warns ‘erring’ Peoples Gazette, as concerned citizens tell ‘truth’ to press

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*Urge critics to emphasize more on press duties than rights, freedom

*Say no time press freedom has been guaranteed better than now

*Think of how no neighbouring country can take Nigerian refugees, Media warned

*FG, States, LGs charged to be alert to responsibilities, urged to know no one is bigger than the law

By BASHIR ADEFAKA

 

“In what civilized society of the world would their media be destroy their country of operations and economy and still claim they have the rights to do so?  No one. Then, the Nigerian media should turn a new leaf by choosing responsible journalism against irresponsible one,” he asked.

 

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“In what civilized society of the world would their media be destroy their country of operations and economy and still claim they have the rights to do so?  No one. Then, the Nigerian media should turn a new leaf by choosing responsible journalism against irresponsible one,” he asked.

Against the backdrops of a published report alleging that its operatives had collaboration with bandits, the Department of State Services (DSS), on Monday, wrote to the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of People’s Gazette, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, a Nigerian online newspaper, making string demands including retraction of the story and possibility of a legal action, if demands are not met in 24 hours.

In the letter signed by Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Service, Dr. Peter Afunanya, and copy of which was obtained by The DEFENDER Monday night, the singularly custodian of nation’s secret posited that the report that its operatives supplied weapons and share proceeds of crimes with bandits was fake and must be pulled down under 24 hours.

In the letter titled, “RE: WE RECEIVE WEAPONS FROM SSS AGENTS, SPLIT RANSOM PAYMENTS: BANDITS”, the DSS said:

“You may kindly recall that I had called you earlier today to complain about the above misleading publication by your online platform, Peoples Gazette. It alleged that bandits and terrorists had been “receiving arms and ammunition from operatives of the State Security Service and often split ransom payments received at gunpoint”. Your report, as you were made to understand, was unfounded, mischievous and a calculated effort to bring the Service and its hardworking personnel to disrepute.

“Though you made allusion to the report by Deutsche Welle as your source, you agreed that the said reportage did not in any way refer to the State Security Service as used in Peoples Gazette fake post. You affirmed that the Service was doing so much and did not deserve such negative portrayal. You further expressed disappointment and surprise that your reporter did not reach out to the Service as claimed, the way you would have personally done by means of call, SMS and/or WhatsApp chat.

“While we agreed that this development has offered you opportunity to step up supervision of your staff, I, on behalf of the Service, made a three point demand namely:
i. That the story should be taken down immediately;
ii. That you should publish a retraction on your platform in the next 24 hours; and
iii. That you render unreserved apology to the Service for deliberately casting it in bad light.

“In view of the long standing relationship with the media as strategic partners, it is believed that you will speedily comply with these demands otherwise the Service would resort to litigation,” the statement said.

The DSS was making its case even  as some critics, claiming that a purported restriction, recently, noticed on website of the online newspaper was blockage of Nigerians’ rights to know, were vehemently replied and disputed.

One if them, who spoke under strict condition of anonymity, told The DEFENDER that “People should talk more about the duties of the press in nation building and national security than the rights they always scream which, in most cases, do not add up. We have conveniently traced the setback the nation has witnessed up till this stage to the impact of fake news happily published and broadcast by some loud members of the Nigerian Press. Evidences abound.

“In what civilized society of the world would their media be destroying their own country of operations, economy and still claim they have the rights to do so?  No one. Then, the Nigerian media should turn a new leaf by choosing responsible journalism against irresponsible one,” he said.

He added that there has been, indisputably, no better time the press in Nigeria has enjoyed freedom than the current Buhari’s Administration they so much deride. “If not, is DSS supposed to be this lenient with Peoples Gazette despite the destructive nature of the dangerous allegations in that publication it made saying its operatives supplied weapons that bandits use and share proceeds of crimes with the deadly criminals?”

He said, “Before you know it, some Nigerian Press would jump the local sources and begin to take information about their country from foreign media. Where is it done that other people can tell your own story better than you can? You are praising America and can do anything to get US visa just to be counted among those that visit. But it is because the press and social media owners in America jealously guard and code information in protecting their country that their citizens have confidence are are able to unite against local and external enemies to keep the Western society afloat despite its many atrocities even against Africa particularly Nigeria, e.g. #EndSARS, #RevotionNow and IPOB. We have reports Boko Haram is not far from their atrocities. If Nigerian government wants to end the terrorism in the North East, let all the so called foreign Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) pretending to do humanitarian work there be sent packing.

“If Nigeria collapses, the press should blame themselves because it is only in Nigeria the media collaborate with terrorists and foreign elements to destroy their own country like we saw in some print/online media and television stations – either sharing military tactics and intelligence reports with Boko Haram or bringing IPOB terrorist group’s spokesman on set to make unguarded declarations running Nigerian government and its military down.

“What manner of media organisations connive with enemies to destroy their own country, where they make their economy, have workforce who depend on their for survival and are paid salaries and where they do other businesses?  How can they survive as business concern, professional organisations and human beings in a Nigerian environment they turn to theatre of war? In event they set Nigeria on fire and innocent citizens begin to run out to safety, how many of our neigbouring countries can absolve refugees herefrom? Don’t you think?” He asked.

The bulk was, however, passed back to the governments at all levels. The source said, “All the nonsense we have seen, some by you people in the media, some by religious leaders and others by some irresponsible ethnic leaders, are happening because of failure of governments to stand up to their responsibilities. It is only in Nigeria that democracy means the right of the people to live above the law of their country. It must stop,” he charged.


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