Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has accused some broadcast media outlets of allowing Nigerians to criticize President Muhammadu Buhari on their platforms.
Mohammed made the announcement at the Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria’s (BON) 75th General Assembly in Kano on Thursday.
He also bemoaned the fact that some Nigerians were able to exploit their platforms to spread divisive messages.
Mohammed advised radio and television stations to use their platforms to promote public and national interests rather than the interests of a few skeptics and destabilizers.
“Today in Nigeria, certain television stations delight in giving their platforms to those whose stock-in-trade is spewing hate, angry and divisive rhetoric, and misinformation,” Mohammed says.
Someone claimed on national television that the army officer kidnapped from the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna on August 24, 2021, had been slain, only to be rescued alive shortly afterwards.
“A very senior public official whose stock-in-trade is divisive rhetoric and unjustified castigation of Mr. President was given a platform by several media channels. Of course, we can’t forget how a television station incorrectly reported that hoodlums set fire to the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja during the EndSar demonstration, or how another television station falsely reported that a worker atop a bank building in Lagos was a sniper. These erroneous claims may have sparked an orgy of violence if it hadn’t been for the grace of God.
“Let us, then, decide to use our platforms to serve both the public and national interest, rather than the interests of a few skeptics and destabilizers.” Let us use the power of broadcasting to positively inform, educate, and entertain our people. Allow us to refuse dead-ends access to our various platforms.
Let us remember that we can have broadcast stations because we have a country.”
Mohammed, on the other hand, advised broadcasters not to silence critics of the federal government.
Those preaching disunity, hostility, disinformation, and hatred, he continued, should not be allowed to use private and public broadcasting channels to pursue their objectives.
“Your Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, we are not requesting that you exclude people who are critical of the government or hold alternative viewpoints.”
All we are saying is that agents of disunity, divisiveness, misinformation and hate should not be allowed to use private and public broadcast stations to achieve their goals.
“On our part, we will continue to partner with BON, which we consider a reliable ally, to keep the people adequately informed of the activities of the government, and also in the successful implementation of key projects like the Digital Switch Over,” he said.