The Standard ran a front page lead on Thursday with the caption ‘APRC WILL CELEBRATE JULY 22’, quoting Amul Nyassi, the National Assembly member for Foni Kansala.
This story caused an unprecedented reaction both from within and outside; with many instead condemning us for simply carrying APRC’s wish of marking the 23rd anniversary of July 22nd Revolution.
It was unfortunate that our reporter slightly misquoted Amul Nyassi which, having painstakingly listened to the audio, we corrected the following publication, Friday 14 July. The Standard regretted the error and we have already apologised to Amul for the mistake which, it would appear, had triggered even a police reaction.
When Amul Nyassi was called for questioning he told the police in no uncertain terms that the mistake was The Standard’s and not his. However, the police—for reasons best known to them—decided to march in at GRTS to make more fuss about the issue. We are immeasurably disappointed in the police for stretching that discourse after Amul specifically told them that the mistake was ours.
Secondly, we read with shock and disappointment the statement over the weekend from the presidency about the July 22nd story describing it as “seditious”. The statement, posted on the president’s official Facebook page, Barrow PORG, claimed there is an abuse of press freedom and enjoined the media to practice “responsible journalism”. In this case, The Standard should practise responsible jounalism.
This statement is both unacceptable and abhorrent in its entirety. The president or whoever wrote the statement on his behalf cannot tell us anything about responsible journalism. We didn’t violate any law or abuse any freedom by publishing that particular article and we owe no apology to anyone or any aggrieved group.
If The Standard misquotes anyone, it is between us and the person who is misquoted; the government has no business in it. We therefore call on the government to measure its words, concentrate on national issues and leave journalism to journalists.