The management of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust and other titles, has expressed anger over the attack on its reporter, Eyo Charles by Femi Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation.
Daily Trust said should anything happen to its reporters, Fani-Kayode would be held responsible.
The newspaper condemned what it described as the reprehensible action by the ex-minister who was captured in a video clip now gone viral, verbally humiliating the journalist.
The incident happened in Calabar, the Cross River State capital last Thursday 20, August 2020 at a hotel, during a press conference.
Charles, who has been with Daily Trust since 2011, had asked the former minister who was bankrolling his recent trips around Nigeria, to which FFK flared up and rained insults on the journalist and eventually threatened to inflict bodily harm on him.
Daily Trust noted that the ex-minister has now edited the video clip to exclude the question asked by the journalist, “totally devoid of mischief, simply sought clarification and information, like good journalism should.”
The newspaper said that the editing has paved the way for a social media lynch mob to rain expletives on its reporter, labelling him as ‘rude’.
Daily Trust said it is standing by its reporter on the matter and commended him for his calmness during the ordeal.
“Daily Trust reporters are responsible professionals, who uphold the tenets of journalism, as well as best practices,” the newspaper said.
“That Fani-Kayode attacks a reporter doing his job, is an indication of the chilling disregard he has towards the media, and its work in investigating and reporting on issues.
“As always, we stand in solidarity with our reporters, and will continue to fight for the rights of all journalists. After all, journalism is part of the bedrock of democracy; therefore practitioners must not be intimidated or threatened as they carry out their work.
“We urge the Nigeria Police to take note, that if anything happens to Charles, Daily Trust will hold Fani-Kayode responsible, especially due to the intensity of the verbal threats he issued during the shocking incident,” it said.
Daily Trust noted that the actions of the former aviation minister, who is also a lawyer, are not only reprehensible, but also constitute a setback to press freedom, in a most dire form, adding that his action raises major concerns over the safety of reporters in the country.