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FG rejects World Press Freedom Index

Press freedom

The Federal Government yesterday rejected the 2021 annual World Press Freedom Index that characterized Nigeria as a country not conducive to the practice of journalism.

Nigeria was ranked 120th, with a global score of 4.06.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, expressed the government’s rejection in Abuja, when he received the executive members of the Nigerian chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI), who paid him a courtesy visit.

In the statement by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to the President (Media), Office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed was quoted as saying: “I disagree with your assessment of press freedom under this government.

“Honestly, at times when I read what the media write here about Nigeria, I begin to wonder whether I live in the same country that they are writing about.

“I disagree vehemently with the assessment because it is unfounded and has no scientific basis. I have been the Minister (of Information and Culture) since 2015, so I know the state of press freedom in Nigeria.”

He clarified that some people have misconstrued government’s efforts to ensure a responsible use of social media as an attempt to tamper with press freedom or threaten independent journalism, adding that the government does not harbour such intentions.

I disagree vehemently with the assessment because it is unfounded and has no scientific basis. I have been the Minister (of Information and Culture) since 2015, so I know the state of press freedom in Nigeria.

Mohammed reiterated that the present administration is neither a threat to the media, nor plans to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally-guaranteed rights.

He further enjoined the media to always stick to their constitutional watchdog role, and not to constitute themselves into a political opposition.

He also charged IPI Nigeria to take seriously the issues of ethics, credibility and fake news, among others, in relation to the practice of journalism in the country.

He called for a sustained engagement between the government and the IPI, to share views on how to enhance the practice of journalism in Nigeria.

In his remarks, the President of IPI Nigeria, Muskilu Mojeed, said the visit was part of a series of engagements with governmental and non-governmental organizations, to enhance independent journalism and operating environment for journalists and media organizations in Nigeria.

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