Foremost publicist and CEO of MAKTOUB, Ms. Mariam Mohammed, has commended the Federal Government for giving the assurance that press freedom will continue to be guaranteed in the country, while ruling out any censorship or muzzling of the press.
Mohammed stated this in Abuja following the Appreciation Dinner for editors, news managers and other top functionaries in the media hosted by the Presidential Communications Team and Maktoub at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja.
Ms. Mohammed, in a statement, quoted Vice President Yemi Osinabjo, SAN, as saying, “I want to say how very thankful I am, for all support we get every day from the Press and to say that for good and for ill at all times, whether you report nicely or not so nicely, you will always be friends and partners.”
Osinbajo charged the media to be in the vanguard against fake news as not doing so could erode the credibility of mainstream media.
Pointing to President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate saga, he expressed the worry that “nobody bothered to find out or didn’t want to find out, the public believed a lie for so long even after the President had brought his certificate form Cambridge West African School. So, with the anonymity of the social media, every day the problems of a free Press are becoming more and more complex and even more dangerous,” he lamented.
Speaking on the same issue, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said government would not muzzle the press as it performs the important work of providing the public with reliable and quality information. “We will continue to support an independent media that gives the public credible news, enlightens us to think more critically and act more honourably to address pressing national challenges.
“We will equally support efforts from media organisations to combat disinformation in all forms, especially fake news which are detrimental to the peace, security and unity of the nation,” he said.
He said the event was organised to honour media practitioners in the country because the present administration values the contributions of the media in nation building.
“That is why in the past four years, the PCT has provided a platform for key government officials to regularly engage editors and media managers’ in-camera briefing sessions to exchange views on some pressing challenges facing our dear country,” he said.
According to him, “I make bold to say that since I assumed office as Secretary to the Government of the Federation we have run a government that is accountable to the public by all standards. “The Buhari administration has laid a solid foundation for Nigeria’s economic development through massive investments in agriculture, power, transportation infrastructure and manufacturing,” he said.
He further added that “The anti-corruption fight is upbeat. The control measures to tackle leakage in public resources have saved us billions of naira, while those who stole our common patrimony are being made to return what they illegally acquired for themselves and their cronies through the legal process,” he said.
He said the present administration would continue to partner with the media in its determination to place Nigeria on the path of rapid growth and sustainable development.
“We will always count on your role as the watchdog of the society, partners in progress, and the conscience of the nation,” Mustapha said.