PEOPLES Gazette, a Nigerian online newspaper, has suspended one of its reporters, Ayoola Babalola for one month without pay for violating the newspaper’s social media policy.
Babalola is on the political desk of Peoples Gazette and has previously worked with Sahara Reporters.
According to a statement issued by Peoples Gazette, his suspension was disclosed in a memo sent to all reporters and signed by Deputy Managing Editor, Boladale Adekoya, on Tuesday, April 4.
The development is coming few days after the newspaper published a report authored by Babalola alleging that the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, in a phone call sought the support of David Oyedepo to secure Christians’ votes a day to the just concluded presidential election.
According to Peoples Gazette, the management made the decision after carefully reviewing the reporter’s responses to online trolls and concluded that he did not act with decorum and professionalism expected of the medium’s employees.
“Ayoola Babalola met with the HR, where he was directed to proceed on suspension for one month without pay,” the online newspaper stated in the memo.
“Mr Babalola is a vibrant and respected member of the organisation’s editorial team,” the statement noted, but stressed the reporter’s “conduct on social media, both from months past and as recently as last weekend, grossly violated the organisation’s guideline on personnel conduct.”
“Still, while the organization sympathises and stands strongly with Mr Babalola and all staff members who come frequently under social media onslaught, the manner with which colleagues handle online trolls is what distinguishes us as professionals.”
The statement added that the reporter would undergo counseling during the one month suspension and will be reinstated afterwards.