Thursday, 19 November 2015

Group Slams The Union for Publishing False Stories

The Executive Director of Media Rights and Ethics Group, Prince Ezekiel Anamambu has slammed the Editorial Board of The Union newspapers for what it described as “dragging Nigerian journalism back to the stone age,” with its front-page story on Thursday November 19, 2015 alleging that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State spent the sum of N55m on buying a golden bed.
Addressing a Press Conference in Onitsha on Thursday, the Executive Director of the media watchdog group dismissed The Union’s Editorial Board as a bunch of “mercantile stragglers who have no business with the noble profession of journalism,” describing the paper’s cover story titled - Obiano Blows N55m on Gold Beds as “the height of irresponsible journalism.”
According to him, it was regrettable that The Union, a fledgling publication with a very narrow readership should allow itself to be dragged into the smear campaign mounted by one of the feuding parties in the media war between the former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi and his successor.
“We have been monitoring the response of many Nigerian newspapers to the on-going war and we can categorically say that no other newspaper has demonstrated the level of despicable carelessness that The Union displayed with its cover story. Is this how The Union hopes to survive?” Prince Amanambu asked; pointing out that it was ethically wrong for the paper to canonize sensationalism and falsehood on its covers.
Said he: “The Media Rights and Ethics Group is appalled that a relatively new publication as The Union has chosen a voyeuristic and sensational path to announce itself in the Nigerian market at a time when the nation needs a brand of journalism that will ask serious questions about the many challenges facing Nigeria at the moment. We would have expected The Union to champion relevant causes like the continued incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu and the threat by the Nigerian army to shoot at unarmed Igbo youths who are trying to express themselves in democratic Nigeria. Alas, The Union has shown that it is not prepared for serious journalism,” Prince Amanambu declared.
The group bemoaned the embarrassing decline in values that must have led to the obvious financial inducements that may have goaded the editors of The Union into publishing a story whose authenticity it cannot defend.
“Can the editors of The Union publish any reliable evidence to convince Nigerians that Governor Obiano sleeps on a golden bed? Can they produce evidence of purchase of this bed with the name of the manufacturer, date of manufacture as well as the date of purchase with Obiano’s signature on the receipts?” Prince Amanambu queried.
The Rights activist however urged Governor Obiano to ignore The Union and its sponsors and concentrate on his activities and programmes that are already turning the fortunes of the state around.
“We are solidly behind Governor Obiano. We have are happy with that he has cleared kidnappers and armed robbers from Anambra State. We are happy with the flyovers that are springing up in Awka. We are happy with the jobs that his agricultural programmes are creating. We are happy with the investments he has attracted so far and we hope that he will continue to lead Anambra well. But somebody should please tell Peter Obi to leave Obiano alone. Peter has done his two terms and
should leave Anambra alone,” he declared.

The Rights grouped warned other scavenging publications to steer clear of the South East where it noted that most of the governors were showing a clear determination to build a domestic economy that would accommodate Igbo people who were displaced by Boko Haram from the North East.

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