Kogi state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, has told a Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa on Thursday that the publisher of www.naijalivetv.com, Saint Meinpamo lied and deliberately caused ill-will towards the Kogi state government with his “false publication that the state government expended N7 billion on a fallen tent which he referred to as an isolation centre.”
Fanwo stated this in Yenagoa, Beyelsa state capital while fielding questions from counsels during the commencement of trials of the blogger at the Federal High Court.
He said, “The publication was not only false, but also generated ill-will, unnecessary anxiety, public incitement, needless hate and tension in the state.
“I discovered a publication on www.naijalivetv.com on May 2, 2020, crediting a new story to the governor of Kogi state saying he built a fallen Covid-19 Isolation Centre for N7 billion. To us, the report was not only false, but a deliberate incitement against the Government and a big embarrassment to the government and people of Kogi state and myself as the Chief Information Officer of the government.
“By the publication, the defendant caused ill-will towards the state government and public tension. It portrayed our government as being corrupt, insensitive and irresponsible. And he never verified the authenticity of the report before going to press to discredit the state government with the false information.
“The fallen tent wasn’t even meant for Covid-19 cases. It was built for the isolation of Lassa Fever patients and it cost the government less than N2 million.
“As a journalist myself, I am abundantly aware that our profession has ethics. The publisher betrayed the ethical standard of our profession by failing to verify the information before publication.”
When asked after the court session if there is any possibility of out-of -court settlement, the Information commissioner said the case was expected to serve as a standard for other journalists who violate their own ethics and publish falsehood.
“We are stating our case. He will state his own. I wont say anything here that might jeopardise justice and fairness. It is up to the court to determine who was right and who was wrong,” he said.
He advised journalists to adhere to the ethics of the profession in order to help in building an egalitarian society.