Buhari has no plan to muzzle media – Lai Mohammed | Dailytrust

Buhari has no plan to muzzle media – Lai Mohammed

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture

The Federal Government on Tuesday in Ilorin said it has no plan to gag the press even as it advanced reasons behinds it’s decision to ensure the regulation of the social media in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said the government’s position on the regulation was in furtherance of national interest which was in line with global best practices.

Mohammed spoke at the opening of a 2-day 2021 edition of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).

According to the minister, no responsible government will allow enemies of Nigeria use media as a tool to destabilise the nation.

He said the phenomenon of fake news and hate speeches which has dominated the social media space is detrimental to the nation’s peace, security and national cohesion.

He therefore appealed to the media to ‘shun sensational reporting and eschew fake news’ to prevent or de-escalate conflicts.

The minister reassured that President Muhammadu Buhari would continue to ensure enabling environment for a robust media practice exists in Nigeria.

He said “Contrary to insinuation in some quarters, this government has no plans to muzzle the media. It appreciates the media as a strategic partner in our determination to foster the socio-economic and political development of our nation”.

Speaking on the theme of the roundtable “Culture, Media and Nation Cohesion”, Mohammed said that the neglect of culture and the breakdown of
cherished cultural values have contributed largely to the myriad challenges bedeviling our nation today.

He said that urgent and concerted efforts are therefore required for cultural reconstruction and reawakening to achieve the much-desired socio political and economic progress.

“The other dimension of the theme of this conference is the role of the media in fostering national cohesion. The media is an indispensable institution in modern and democratic societies. As the fourth estate of the realm and watchdog of society with constitutional backing, media has a pivotal role to play in the progress and well being of society”, he said.

Also speaking, the Executive Secretary/CEO of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Mr. Ado Mohammed Yahuza, said the 2021 theme for the programme was selected to reemphasize the significance of culture and the media to socio-political and economic development of the nation.

“We are fully convinced that our present challenges as a nation can be surmounted through a culture rebirth programme with the media playing a leading role.

“The replacement of our cherished cultural values of honesty, hard work, good neighbourliness, respect for elders, respect for constituted authority with negative tendency such as “get-rich-quick syndrome”, ethnic and religious bias have been the bane of our national cohesion and development efforts.

“It is our belief that if the media emphasize and celebrate our cherished cultural values and the things that unite us instead of the things that divide us, national unity and cohesion would be easily achieved”, he noted.

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