NIGERIAN media, on Tuesday, February 23, received commendation from Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, for its role in the ongoing national campaigns against terrorism and corruption. Mohammed expressed satisfaction that the media has availed itself creditably in keeping the people informed about the campaigns.
The minister who gave the commendation while receiving members of the Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute, IPI, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja, reiterated his earlier statement that in a time of national crisis, the media cannot afford to be neutral
”We are not saying that you should suspend your professional judgement, but you cannot afford to sit on the fence when the issues we are talking about are issues that are capable of affecting the unity of the country.
”Just the same way that the media rallied round us when we had Ebola crisis, they are rallying round us today over the Boko Haram issue. I think that the kind of support we have received from them and which we will continue to receive from them is very gladdening,” Mohammed said.
He promised to collaborate with the IPI to improve the welfare and safety of journalists practicing in Nigeria. He, however, urged the IPI to lend its voice to the ongoing fight against corruption, saying the government would continue to prosecute the war within the confines of the law.
He advised those standing trial for corruption not to prolong their trial by deploying unnecessary legal tactics, and said the rule of law should not be misconstrued as a shield to protect corruption suspects from standing trial.
Mohammed also expressed the willingness of the federal government to partner with the IPI to explore the possibility of hosting the 2018 Congress of the Institute in Nigeria.
Earlier, Kabiru Yusuf, chairman of the Nigerian National Committee of the IPI, spoke on the need for Nigeria to host the annual congress of the Institute in 2018 because of the opportunity it would provide for the nation to interact with leading global media professionals and also improve the image of the country.
“It is important that while we are trying to fix the country, we should also fix its image. This will have to take some doing and we have to do it ourselves and show the best sides of this country,” Yusuf said.
He disclosed that the Institute is planning some training for journalists in the country, especially in the area of safety in view of the challenging work environment created by the insurgency in the North-East.
The IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists who are dedicated to the furtherance and safeguarding of press freedom, the protection of freedom of opinion and expression, the promotion of the free flow of news and information, and the improvement of the practice of journalism.
— Feb 24, 2016 @ 15:50 GMT