The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has lamented that some media practitioners are responsible for painting Nigeria in bad light.
He argued that while the federal government is aware of the security and other challenges facing the country, the negative image been projected to the outside world overshadows the positive developments and sends the wrong signal to the international community.
He urged that this should stop so foreign investment and other opportunities can flow into the country.
Alhaji Mohammed urged journalists to be patriotic and understand the important role they play in image and nation-building, noting that a country at war can’t make any progress.
Naija News reports the Minister made the submission on Thursday in Abuja at a ceremony to rename the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) building after its late former Managing Director, Alhaji Wada Maida.
In his view, Alhaji Maida served the nation and NAN to the best of his ability during his lifetime and deserves all the honour being accorded to him.
“Alhaji Wada’s brand of journalism was developmental. He believed that journalism serves a higher purpose, which includes ensuring the development, peace and unity of a nation. This is not a surprise, considering that the News Agency of Nigeria, where he served out most of his years as a journalist, is not just the apex news organization
in Nigeria but also one committed to countering negative information about our country,” the Minister said.
On the roles that should be played by journalists and media practitioners in national development, the Minister appealed to them to use their platform positively and put the nation first.
While adding that the government is not saying events should not be reported as it happens, Mohammed stressed that it is not all gloom.
In his words, “It may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist, in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace. In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first.
“Your excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, if one picks up most newspapers, watches most television stations or listens to most radio stations in Nigeria today, he or she will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
“Yes, we have challenges, especially in the area of security. But this Administration has not only acknowledged
these challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges. A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East.
“Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.”
Alhaji Mohammed said the security agencies who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep the citizens safe should not be discouraged with constant negative reports or even fake news about their activities some times.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organizations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage
them with negative reporting.”
“The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers,” he added.