By Olayinka Ajayi
From left: Former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority, Dr. Tonnie Iredia; the Executive Director, International Press Institute (IPI), Ms. Barbara Trionfi; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Chairman IPI Nigeria, Mallam Kabiru
Yusuf and the Secretary IPI Nigeria, Mr. Raheem Adedoyin, during a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on Thursday
The Federal Government of Nigeria has restated it’s commitment to the freedom of the press, saying the media has nothing to fear from President Buhari led Administration.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Muhamed stated this in Abuja 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.
Alhaji 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.
“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 and also be fair to us. That’s all we are asking. Please criticize us on facts and not on emotion,” he said.
The Minister said 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 said the government is on a rescue mission, but noted that the rot of 16 years cannot be corrected within two and a half years.
Alhaji Mohammed said the 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 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
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.