Channels Television has apologised to the Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Ngei Abe, for airing a piece of fake news about the recently concluded stakeholders’ meeting of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
Channels TV had reported that the stakeholders’ meeting was to celebrate Wike’s victory.
However, an angry Abe slammed Channels TV for “poisoning the mind of the masses”
According to him: “We held a meeting of APC Stakeholders in Rivers state where we amongst other things briefed members on the outcome of the Supreme Court Judgement, called for unity and inclusion in the party, and charted a way forward for the party.
“Channels TV whose reporter was physically present at the meeting from the beginning to the end, reported to the world that we gathered to celebrate Wike’s victory.
“I have since been receiving calls from all over the world from people expressing their shock and surprise.
“That report was not only false it was politically fabricated. Channels has a right to decide which story to carry, but you have no right to decide whose story you carry. The event must be allowed to tell the story.
“To forcefully present to the world that the meeting we held was in anyway or form associated with Governor Wike may be a story sponsored by those working for the opposition to create disaffection between the national leadership of the APC and the state, or worse still sponsored by the internal opposition within the Rivers State APC led by the Minister of Transportation that are the original purveyors of the story that we were somehow connected to Governor Wike.
“Either way Channels TV has deliberately acted to poison the minds of Nigerians and withheld the truth from them.
“It could not have been a mistake because your reporter was physically present at the meeting. Channels would have done better not to carry the story, than to carry a story about us that is definitely not our story.
“The meeting was held precisely because the Supreme Court of Nigeria had by its position vindicated our struggle and have shown to Nigerians that our movement was powered by nothing other than the quest for justice and fair play within the APC, but your report did nothing to celebrate that, rather you joined our political traducers to tar us with a poisoned brush. It was not just mischief it was wicked mischief. It is unacceptable.
“May I respectfully request that you investigate the source of your story and make public the name of the source of your story, or the originator if you are prepared to stand by the story. Where you are unable to stand by your story, please tender an unreserved and public apology to me and all APC stakeholders who attended the meeting.
“Secondly, publish the meeting on your medium from the beginning to the end let Nigerians see for themselves if your story in any way relates to the reality of what transpired at the meeting.
“It is unfortunate that people choose to use Channels Television, a brand that Nigerians have come to associate with integrity and truth in broadcasting as a medium to destroy perceived political opponents and sponsor mischief.
“Please act quickly to save both Channels and ourselves from further needless embarrassment”
But Channels TV apologised over the fake reportage of the true event. The TV station also retracted the fake news.
Abe in a letter addressed to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Channels Television, Prince John Momoh, also lauded the management of the media organization for its prompt and professional response to the complaints of APC members in the state.
The letter reads in part: “This is just a note to say “THANK YOU”. Your prompt and professional response to our complaint was a class act and journalism at its best.
“I accept your apology, and though we were deeply hurt and embittered, your response is proof enough that no deliberate mischief was intended by Channels Television.
“The matter is now laid to rest, and should only be mentioned from now on as an example of how a responsible news organization should handle an issue of this nature.”
The Senator reminded the media organization of its promise to investigate the source of the fake news, which almost brought the party and its members in Rivers State to disrepute.
It reads: “However, remember your promise to get to the bottom of the matter, if it was done maliciously or for profit, please push for maximum sanctions as a lesson to other bad eggs.
“If it was indeed an innocent error then a more lenient approach with a system check and better training will help to improve your already excellent services.
“Also, I hold you to your promise to air a fuller report of our story; it will help to give your audience a clearer picture of what actually transpired at the meeting.
“Once again, thanks for the apology. It’s never easy to say sorry, that’s why only strong men apologize when they err.”