The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says journalists in Nigeria have nothing to fear from the Nigerian government in the performance of their duties.
“Under this dispensation, we have never even contemplated stifling the freedom of the media not to talk of hounding them to death,” Mohammed said in Doha on Sunday when he featured on a panel at the ongoing 2016 Annual Congress of the International Press Institute (IPI) in the Qatari capital.
“Not a single journalist is in detention in Nigeria today. The government of the day is not a threat to the media, and it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally guaranteed rights,” he said at the session.
Alhaji Mohammed said having identified lack of communication and mutual suspicion as part of the reasons for regular frictions between the government and the media in Nigeria, he had taken measures to enhance communication and also reduce suspicion between the two.
“These (measures) include strengthening the rapport between the government and the media, which I have done by meeting with the major stakeholders in the media industry, and setting up a committee between the media and the security/intelligence agencies to deepen communication and understanding,” he said.
The Minister also said while the government has ensured the protection of the premises of vulnerable media establishments when required to do so, that does not affect the independence of such organisations.