Following the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national chairman, Adamu
Mu’azu attributing the party’s dismal performance at the polls partly
to the hate campaigns by its members, the Sun’s Editor-in-Chief, Femi
one of the newspapers who carried the hate campaign during the election
period has justified his media house’s action.
Adesina, who spoke during this year’s World Press Freedom Day in
Lagos attributed the publication of the morbid advert to the influence
of media owners.
The advert was so scandalous that even the Peoples’ Democratic Party
Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) distanced itself from Fayose
stating that the advert did not represent the campaign or Jonathan’s
“The Sun and The Punch that ran the infamous Ayo Fayose hate advert, what motivated the newspapers?”
“Was it just mere pecuniary gains? I cannot speak for The Punch, but I
know why The Sun ran it. Money was secondary consideration. It was a
decision I took consciously as Managing Director and Editor in Chief,”
Adesina defended his organisation, stating that what the public saw
on the newspapers’ “It had been sent to me from the office to clear for
publication. When I saw it I screamed. I then called Bolaji Tunji, our
Executive Director, Special Services, ‘Can we publish this and Nigeria
will not burn?’ Then we began to discuss and we began to tone it down.
We removed so many things from that advert. And what eventually appeared
on January 19th was the toned-down version.
covers on January 19 was a “heavily watered down” version of the advert.
“That hate advert, two newspapers published it, The Sun and The
Punch,” Mr. Adesina began, speaking on the topic ‘Influence of Media
Owners on Fair and Balanced Reporting and Commentaries in 2015
“Now you can ask me: why did we publish? That advert came on a
Sunday, January 18th, and we published it on January 19th. The advert
that was eventually published had been watered down considerably. I came
back from church, I opened my system and when I saw it I screamed.
“So if we had published the original…. So it was the toned-down
version that I approved that they eventually sent to The Punch that
appeared the next day.”
Adesina said that he is widely regarded as an APC man although he
does not belong to the party, and that rejecting the advert would have
meant trouble from Orji Uzor Kalu, the newspaper’s proprietor and a
founding member of the PDP.
“Now but if you ask me, why did I approve that advert?” he said. “I
knew that the toned-down version was still bad enough. But don’t forget
the ownership of my newspaper. A PDP chieftain owns the newspaper.
“If I had rejected that advert, they would have told my publisher
that this APC man has denied your paper revenue. He has rejected this
advert because he doesn’t like Jonathan.
“So, after we watered it down, we decided to take it. Punch also took
it. But we know the uproar that still came after it. But I tell you, if
you see the original of that advert, you would still then have to
commend the media.
“So ownership will always matter where press freedom is concerned.
There is no freedom without boundaries and the owners will always
constitute the boundary.”