The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that there is no challenge that Nigeria is facing today that other countries are not facing.
Mohammed added that the spate of fake news has assumed a frightening proportion and has affected the nation’s image globally.
Speaking on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Aso Television (TV) Station and Aso Radio ultra modern studio in Abuja, the former National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress called on media practitioners to place national interest above 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. Whatsapp targets fake messages ahead of India mega-election. 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.
He continued: “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.
On his part, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello said one of the dispositions 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 a 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.
The Minister 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 news channel.
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.