The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) has no plans to muzzle media.
Mohammed stated this on Tuesday while giving the reasons for the Federal Government's decision to regulate social media at the opening of a two-day 2021 edition of the Annual Roundtable on Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) in Ilorin.
Speaking on the theme "Culture, Media and Nation Cohesion", the minister revealed that the government's position on the regulation of social media is in furtherance of the national interest and in line with global best practices.
Tribune quoted Mohammed as saying that the phenomenon of fake news and hate speeches, which has dominated the social media space is detrimental to the nation's peace, security and national cohesion.
The minister, who said that no responsible government will allow enemies of Nigeria to use media as a tool to destabilise the nation, appealed to the media to shun sensational reporting and eschew fake news, stressing that sensitive reportage would help prevent or de-escalate conflicts as the case may be.
He said that the neglect of culture and the breakdown of cherished cultural values have contributed largely to the myriad challenges bedevilling our nation today.
Speaking further, Mohammed added for the country to achieve the much-desired socio-political and economic progress, urgent and concerted efforts are therefore required for cultural reconstruction and reawakening.
"The other dimension of the theme of this conference is the role of the media in fostering national cohesion. The media is an indispensable institution in modern and democratic societies. As the fourth estate of the realm and watchdog of society with constitutional backing, media has a pivotal role to play in the progress and well being of society," he said.
The minister, who reassured that President Muhammadu Buhari would continue to ensure enabling environment for a robust media practice exists in Nigeria, said that "Contrary to insinuation in some quarters, this government has no plans to muzzle the media. It appreciates the media as a strategic partner in our determination to foster the socio-economic and political development of our nation," he said.