Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, reassures that the Federal Government harbors no intentions to curb or manipulate the media.
In a recent interview on Channels TV, the Minister emphasized the importance of media organizations acting responsibly. He highlighted the necessity for collaborative efforts between operators and regulators to foster a harmonious relationship, ultimately serving the best interests of the public.
“You can see that already; who has been pressured? Which broadcast station or newspaper has been pressured? Nobody has been pressured to do anything, but again it flows from the fact that you have to give people the truth. Nobody will be pressured.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a democrat, and he is a product of communication, why will he now say ‘don’t do it this way’. Nobody has been pressured and there is no intention whatsoever to do that.
“The administration of Bola Tinubu is not interested in controlling the media. People should be allowed to say what they want to say responsibly, as long as your freedom does not also create a problem for others. The most important thing is that nobody is trying to gag or control anybody. What we are simply saying is that, do you work responsibly, so that your freedom does not also become a source of problem for the society.”
The Minister also described the challenges of fake social media abuse and fake news as a global menace, but that the government was addressing in its own way.
“The social media issue and fake news are not just Nigerian problems, they are global problems. I have sat in conferences and seminars outside this country where the issue of fake news was discussed. We are dealing with it in our own way. But as it is, UNESCO is bringing out some kind of guidelines for social media, which all countries will adopt to check it.
“Much as we give freedom for people to say what they want to say, it is incumbent on them to know that freedom comes with enormous responsibility. You don’t just say you want press freedom, it has to come with enormous responsibility.
“Over the years, there was a gradual erosion of values of Nigerians about their country. Many years ago, Nigerians seemed to believe in their country but over the years, it has become almost commonplace to see that people don’t believe in their own country, with the japa issue. Issues of nationalism and value orientation have all broken down, and so the Bola Tinubu administration needs to do that, and the Ministry of Information and National Orientation is set to do just that.
“My first task is to rebuild that trust in government communication, and for Nigerians to believe in themselves and their leaders once again.”