Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, says the Federal Government is committed to the freedom of the press, despite receiving “so many punches from the media every day”.
“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,” Mohammed said on Thursday when he received a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) on a courtesy visit to his office.”
“Like I always say, this government will never stifle the media. We take so many punches every day from the media. We are not saying please don’t criticize us; do criticize us but please do your own homework thoroughly also and be fair to us. That’s all we are asking. Please criticize us on facts and not on emotion.”
He 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 from the previous administration.
While stressing that the government is on a rescue mission, Mohammed noted that the rot of 16 years could not be corrected within two-and-a-half years.
He 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 between June 21 and 23, will give the government the opportunity to showcase its achievements to the international media.
In her remarks, Barbara Trionfi, Executive Director of IPI, said she was in the country to interface with media professionals towards the successful hosting of the congress.
She commended the government for its efforts in 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.