FG pledges commitment to press freedom
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has pledged commitment to press freedom in the country.He spoke in Abuja yesterday when a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) paid him a courtesy visit in his office.He said: “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.”
The minister, who said the government always takes criticism from the media in good faith, however, appealed to them to be fair and constructive in their criticisms.
“Like I always say, this government will never stifle the media. We take so many punches everyday from it. We are not saying, please don’t criticise us.“But, please do your own homework thoroughly also and be fair to us. That’s all we are asking. Please criticise us on facts and not on emotion,” he said.The minister said the present administration believes that democracy cannot thrive without a free press.He appealed to the media to report the government within the context of the daunting challenges facing the nation, most of which were inherited by the administration.
He stressed that the government is on a rescue mission, adding that the rot of 16 years could not be corrected within two and a half years.The minister explained that this administration succeeded in preventing a total collapse of the economy, and has returned the country to the path of economic growth and sustainable development.
He commended the IPI for its confidence in Nigeria, by granting the country the hosting right for its annual congress.Mohammed added that the IPI World Congress 2018, which is scheduled for Abuja on June 21-23, would give the government the opportunity to showcase its achievements to the international media.
The Executive Director of IPI, Ms. Barbara Trionfi, said her visit to Nigeria is to interface with media professionals towards the successful hosting of the forthcoming congress.
She commended the government for its efforts in promoting press freedom and the safety of journalists in the country.Trionfi enjoined the media industry to look beyond business rivalry and competition, to cooperate and promote the core values of journalism.
The Chairman of IPI Nigeria, and Publisher of Media Trust, Kabiru Yusuf; former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, and the Secretary of IPI Nigeria, Raheem Adedoyin, accompanied her on the visit.
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