- Alhaji Lai Mohammed called on the press to make the country’s national interest its priority
- The minister said what Nigeria is going through is not unique to the country alone
- Mohammed urged the media to contribute towards the development of the nation
The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the spate of fake news has assumed frightening proportion and has affected the nation’s image globally.
The minister made this known during the inauguration of the Aso Television (TV) station and Aso Radio ultra-modern studio in Abuja on Tuesday.
He called on media practitioners to rise up to the challenge and place national interest above any primordial ones.
"We want to challenge our journalists to know that the spread of fake news today that is aimed generally at the public, is undermining our international image. You cannot paint your country as having incompetent leadership and expect the country to be respected internationally.
“We are not asking that the freedom of information should be breached or that we will censor the media. We are appealing to the media to self-regulate or it will self destroy itself
“The reputation of this industry is going down because of fake news and this is a real danger to our unity. Nigeria comes first before every other interest and we must work towards salvaging this country. Nigeria should come first,’’ he said.
Mohammed said there is no challenge that Nigeria is facing today that other countries are not facing.
The minister added that with measures that had been placed in front of President Muhammadu Buhari, all these challenges would be a thing of the past in the very near future.
Earlier, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, said one of the disposition of the present administration on assumption of office four years ago was to reposition the Abuja Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to be relevant to residents.
“However, the journey for television broadcasting began much earlier in 2004 when the licence was obtained with broadcast set in 2007. This however was not to be, due to a number of factors.
“It is therefore heart-warming to see that the set commenced full operations. It has taken a decade and half to get us to this stage and therefore we expect you to hit the ground running.
“I want to remind you of your responsibility to develop good quality content that will promote the unity of Nigeria which the FCT symbolises as well as promote the developmental agenda of the administration," he said.
He warned the two stations to resist the temptations of joining sensational and imprudent journalism instead they should carve a niche for themselves as a responsible and level headed newsmen and content provider.
According to Bello, Nigeria and FCT more than ever, needs their institutions to bridge the gap on issues that tend to divide us and help to build a strong, virile and stable Nigeria.
“You must see this as your mission and use all your knowledge and experience to ensure that you succeed in this direction. You must also work hard to make this station economically viable so that it sustains itself.
“The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has expended a lot of resources to get it on its feet and you should therefore justify the confidence repose in you. After all, who much was given, much is expected," he said.
He called on all FCT Agencies, Secretariats, Departments, corporate organisations and viewing public to patronise the station to help it grow.
President Buhari in an earlier report frowned at the inability of the Nigerian elites to address the welfare and educational needs of the less-privileged members of the society.
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The president made his feelings known when he hosted Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, ministers, service chiefs, heads of security agencies and chief executives of federal government agencies and institutions to a breaking of fast at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari said he was upset with the level of poverty in the land and challenged the elite to do something very urgent to ameliorate the pathetic situation.
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