We are not trying to “muzzle” the press – Presidency Reacts to Arrest of Leadership Staff

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Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Reuben Abati

The Presidency has reiterated its committed to freedom of the press, but however cautioned against the publication of falsehood.

This was made known in a statement by the Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr Reuben Abati, following a release issued by the management of Leadership Newspapers, stating that the company stood by its story that led to the arrest of four journalists of the newspaper by the police. The Leadership had allegedly published a document tagged “presidential directive,” which the presidency claimed was fake.

Besides insisting that the report was untrue, the Federal Government urged the management of the company to cooperate with the police in their ongoing investigation into the matter. According to the presidency, it was a normal practice for the media to admit its error when it erred or be willing to undergo scrutiny as being carried out by the police.

The statement reads in part: “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 continue to play very crucial and necessary role in nation-building.”

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