International Image At Stake

Lai Mohammed On "Fake News"

by Gottfried Moh

International Image At Stake

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the spread of fake news aimed generally at the public, is undermining the country’s international image. He pointed out that Nigeria cannot be painted as having incompetent leadership and one expects the country to be respected internationally. Alhaji Mohammed noted that the spate of fake news has assumed a frightening proportion and has affected the nation’s image globally. 

The minister made this known during the inauguration of the Aso Television (TV) Station and Aso Radio ultra modern studio in Abuja on Tuesday. He called on media practitioners to rise up to the challenge and place national interest above any primordial ones. Alhaji Mohammed said “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." 

Image result for lai mohammedMinister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. Source: Leadership Newspaper

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. There is no challenge that Nigeria is facing today that other countries are not facing.” he continued

The minister added that with measures put in place by President Muhammadu Buhari, and all the challenges would soon be a thing of the past. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello said that one of the dispositions of the present administration since it's the assumption of office four years ago, was to reposition the Abuja Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to be relevant to residents. He warned the two stations to resist the temptation of joining sensational and imprudent journalism instead they should carve a niche for themselves as a responsible and level headed newsmen and content provider. 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. 

Image result for abuja broadcasting corporationReport a bad or unprofessional broadcast. Source: nbc.gov.ng

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 reposed in you. After all, who much was given, much is expected,” he said. He called on all FCT Agencies, Secretariats, Departments, corporate organisations and viewing public to patronise the station to help it grow. 

Chairman of the ABC Limited, Mallam Farouk Muhammed, said about eight years ago the board ordered a number of the equipment for Aso TV but were left in crates because the supplier was not paid in full. He said after the inaugural board meeting the Managing Director was mandated to convince the supplier to complete the installation. Muhammed said after nine months of test transmission the station was still on a test, noting that the sister radio station, Aso Radio had been in existence for 18 years. 

Image result for Aso Rock TV chairmanPresident Muhammadu Buhari at a function. Source: TVC

The chairman said that all arrangements for local retraining of some ABCL staff and digital Aso TV transmission had been completed. “Although we are ready to commence full transmission and increase gradually, we cannot do so until some tools for the job like Cameras, Teleprompters fly away kits, vehicles and others are supplied. Happily, several months ago you approved the supply of the said items, but the procurement process needs to be expedited and completed for the equipment to be supplied to enable Aso TV to join the competitive terrain,” he said.

Muhammed thanked the minister for deploying some ABCL staff to the FCTA. He said, “we hope the process of financial independence would be expedited to enable Aso TV to start operating as a fully commercial entity of the government."

(Excerpts sourced from Daily Times)