The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has stated that Information as a public good is leveraged on the importance of cherishing information as a societal imperative, which seeks to highlight the power of information in entrenching the ethos of the nation’s democratic experience.
He said this at the One-Day Symposium organised by the Ministry in collaboration with UNESCO, NBC and other stakeholders, with its theme: “Information as Public Good” held at the National Press Centre, Radio House, Abuja.
Lai Mohammed who was represented by Mr. Ibidapo Okunnu, Director Production, Publication and Documentation (PPD), stated that the symposium was in tandem with the theme of 2021 World Press Freedom that was earlier celebrated on May 3rd, adding that the event could not have come at a better time as the term “collective good” has been distorted with the proliferation of fake news, misinformation and hate speech in the media, which has threatened to tarnish the hard earned reputation garnered by the Nigerian media over the years.
He urged the media to continuously weed out activities that are undermining professionalism and eroding public confidence in the media.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Adaora Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, who was represented by Mr. D. Z Seddon MNI Director Planning, Research and Statistics (PRS), said the symposium is part of the Ministry,s strategic plans to acknowledge the important role of the media in national development and support vibrant media to effectively discharge its role as the fourth estate of the realm.
He further stated that the theme is significant for the press that deals with information on a global scale to effectively disseminate it to the citizens and also seeks to highlight steps to ensure the economic viability of news media, mechanism for enhance Media and Information Literacy (MLC), capacities that enable people to recognise and value journalism as well as demand and defend journalism as a vital part of information as a public good.
Mr. Seddon reiterated that the Federal government stands firmly with UNESCO and other international bodies to condemn the acts of violence against journalist noting that President Buhari has ensured promoting of democracy in Nigeria by ensuring that freedom of press is not compromised.
He explained that journalist and media personnel should know that freedom of press comes with special responsibilities and that they must operate within the confines of the law and respect the dignity of other citizens as their right are subject to certain restrictions bothering on national security, preservation of public good and promoting peace and stability in country.
Seddon appreciated UNESCO, NBC and relevant stakeholders for collaborating with the Ministry on the symposium.