THE federal government will not regulate online publications in the country. Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, gave the assurance on Friday, 22, when he met with online publishers in Lagos, in continuation of his consultation with the media.
Mohammed, however, appealed to the publishers to ensure that they maintained their credibility. He said: “If the online publications suffer credibility problems, they stand the risk of losing the confidence of their readers and the advertisers who provide the lifeblood for the publications’ survival.”
The minister said while the number of online publications would continue to grow in the days ahead, only the credible ones would continue to enjoy patronage, either from the readers or from the advertisers.
He said it was in the interest of government that online publications continued to grow in number because “the more the number of such online publications, the easier it becomes to bridge the information gap between the government and the governed, and the easier it becomes for the government to carry the citizens along in the formulation and implementation of policies that touch on their lives.”
He promised that the federal government would patronise the online publications through adverts and the government would want in return “is that you provide accurate information to the people, and avoid sensationalism and partisanship.”
Mohammed used the event to ask for the publishers’ support to ensure the success of the various campaigns that had either being launched or about to be launched by the federal government.
“The National Security Awareness Campaign, aimed at rallying the support of Nigerians for the war on terror, is ongoing. Also, the National Sensitisation Campaign against Corruption was formally launched in Abuja on Monday, (January 18) and it is aimed at rallying Nigerians against the cankerworm of corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric of our society.
“We are also preparing to launch a National Re-orientation Campaign, which is tagged ‘Change Begins With Me’, to achieve a paradigm shift in the way we do things,” the minister said.
He described the war against corruption as one of the cardinal programmes of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. Mohammed said: “Some have said the government is dwelling too much on the war against corruption to the detriment of other areas of governance. Our response to that is that, indeed, there is nothing like dwelling too much on this war, which is a war of survival for our nation.
“The situation is grim, very grim indeed, as far as corruption is concerned. That is why the federal government is embarking on this sensitisation campaign. Our approach is not to vilify anyone but to use facts and figures to give Nigerians a sense of the cost of corruption,” he argued.
The minister blamed corruption for the poverty which has become endemic in the country.
— Feb 1, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT