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The Guardian synonymous with independence, professionalism, excellence, says Mohammed

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Editor in Chief, The Guardian, Martins Oloja (left) and Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed during the presentation of The Making of the Nigerian FLAGSHIP (The Story of The Guardian) to the minister in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ATEKO

• We remain committed to good, responsible journalism, Oloja promises
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, yesterday, acknowledged the contribution of The Guardian to national development, noting that since its establishment 38 years ago, the flagship has been synonymous with independence, professionalism and excellence.

He said in an era of fake news and misinformation, the media has a duty to get its facts right, adding that the industry will do itself a great favour by ensuring that charlatans and hack writers do not dominate the space, as was becoming the case in Nigeria.

Speaking when the management team, led by the Editor-In-Chief, Martins Oloja, paid him a courtesy visit yesterday in Abuja, the minister relished the array of intellectuals on the newspaper’s editorial board, stating: “I feel so intimidated.”

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Mohammed said the media remained indispensable to the sustenance of a virile democracy, as no true democracy survives without a professional, responsible and independent media.

He said: “It is in this context that the government continues to view the media as a strong partner. Of course, the Nigerian media has earned its epaulette over the years, and it is regarded among the most independent and fearless in this part of the world. It is said that for the media to play its role – which is to inform, criticise and stimulate debate – it must take responsibility for whatever it puts out. In other words, it must get its facts right. But can we say today that most of what we read, hear and watch in the news is factual?

“In the past few days alone, this office has received appeals from many concerned Nigerians asking the Federal Government to do something about the rising wave of fake news and misinformation. I am also aware that, publicly, some well-meaning Nigerians have issued such appeals. We are not surprised that this is happening. As a matter of fact, we saw it coming. That explains why, as far back as 2017, we started our advocacy against fake news, hate speech and misinformation.”

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