Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to the freedom of the press, saying, the media has nothing to fear from the present Administration.
The Minister stated this in Abuja on Thursday when he received a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) on a courtesy visit to his office.
“The media has nothing to fear from the government but, on the contrary, we are the ones that cannot sleep with our eyes closed because of the media,” he said.
Mohammed, who said the government always takes criticism from the media in good faith, however, appealed to the media to be fair and constructive in its criticisms.
“Like I always say, this government will never stifle the media. We take so many punches everyday from the media. We are not saying please don’t criticize us, do criticize us, but please do your own homework thoroughly also and be fair to us. That’s all we are asking. Please criticize us on facts and not on emotion,” he said.
The Minister said that the present administration believes that democracy cannot thrive without a free press but noted that the media should report the government within the context of the daunting challenges facing the nation, most of which were inherited by the Administration.
He added: “The government is on a rescue mission, but noted that the rot of 16 years cannot be corrected within two and a half years.”
Mr Mohammed said that the Administration has succeeded in preventing a total collapse of the economy and has thereby returned the country to the path of economic growth and sustainable development.
He therefore thanked the IPI for its confidence in Nigeria by granting the country the hosting right for its annual congress, saying the IPI World Congress 2018, scheduled for Abuja on 21-23 June, will give the government the opportunity to showcase its achievements to the international media.
In her remarks, the Executive Director of IPI, Ms. Barbara Trionfi, said she is in the country to interface with media professionals towards the successful hosting of the forthcoming congress.
She commended the government for its efforts towards promoting press freedom and the safety of journalists in the country, and tasked the media industry to look beyond business rivalry and competition in order to cooperate and promote the core values of journalism.
Ms. Trionfi was accompanied on the visit by the Chairman of IPI Nigeria and Publisher of Media Trust, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf; former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, and the Secretary of IPI Nigeria, Mr. Raheem Adedoyin, among others.