As the 2023 General Elections draw nearer, the Federal Government has reiterated that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not and will not be a threat to the media.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed gave the reassurance when a delegation from the International Press Institute, Nigeria chapter, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
He said Nigeria has one of the most vibrant and free press in the world and the administration was not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally guaranteed rights.
He clarified that some people have misconstrued the government’s efforts to ensure a responsible use of social media as an attempt to tamper with press freedom or threaten independent journalism, emphasising that the government does not harbour such intentions.
“I remember saying at the opening of the 2016 IPI world congress in Qatar that the government of the day in Nigeria is not a threat to the media, and that is not about to change, and that it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally guaranteed rights. That statement remains true today as it was then,” Mr Mohammed said.
“I even told the congress that the Nigerian media have no reason to fear the government. And that if anything, it is the government that is at the mercy of the media. That too remains true today. After all, this may be one of the very few countries in the world where a section of the media can refuse to recognise popular sovereignty. Or how else does one explain the situation to which a President who was duly elected by millions of Nigerians is willfully stripped of that title ‘President’ and then cheekily cloaked in the garb of a dictator by playing up his military title. Those doing that have continued to practice their profession without hindrance.”