Information Minister promises collaboration with NUJ, guarantees press freedom

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The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, says the  Federal Government is committed to press freedom and will collaborate with the NUJ to provide conducive environment for journalists to operate. The minister said this was necessary to ensure the transformation of Nigeria in line with the vision of President Bola Tinubu administration. Idris stated this when the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr Chris Iziguzo, visited him on Tuesday in Abuja. According to him, the NUJ has in its 55 years history as a professional organisation, demonstrated competence and patriotism for the sake of Nigeria. He added that the union was one of the most important stakeholders contributing to the sustenance of democracy in the country. “The Ministry of Information and National Orientation is the regulatory body of all those within the media industry in the country. “I assure you that the ministry will continue to perform that oversight function for the benefit of all, because we are in this journey together.
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“The administration of President Bola Tinubu will provide the most conducive environment for journalists to practice their profession. “Tinubu is against the censorship of media outlets in this country,” Idris said. The minister urged media practitioners in the country to be patriotic in the discharge of their responsibilities. “With freedom also comes responsibility. It is important that practitioners also check and check again for whatever they put out there for the Nigerian public to consume. “It is not helpful when some media outlets put out information that is not factual or that is intended to disparage or to create disharmony among the Nigerian people. “Much as the Federal Government is interested and in fact committed to ensuring press freedom, it is also important that practitioners know that, that freedom comes with responsibility. “There will be no room for censorship in this administration. The Nigerian press would not be gagged,” Idris said.
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The minister urged the NUJ to support the Federal Government in its attempt at repositioning the country and reorienting Nigerians to always put the nation first. According to him, the collaboration is necessary for the development, peace, progress, unity and transformation of the country. The minister assured the NUJ that the challenge of non remittance of check-off dues of its members would be looked into and addressed. “I am here to ensure that all practicing journalists in this country have a level playing ground and a good environment to operate. “My tenure here will be unsuccessful if at the end of the day, journalists don’t feel safe to practice their profession,” Idris said. Earlier, Iziguzo said Idris’ extensive experience in the media landscape should guide him to remain committed to the principles that underpin the journalism profession. The NUJ National President urged the minister to address the challenges confronting the media industry in Nigeria.
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“It is a landscape fraught with complexities, where the ideals of press freedom, access to information, and the safety and security of journalists often find themselves at the crossroads. “The economic burden imposed by the high cost of production of newspapers by operators is an added layer of difficulty. “This is in addition to the persistent harassment and interference from regulatory bodies, including the National Broadcasting Commission. “These are challenges that demand our collective attention,” Iziguzo said. He said the NUJ believed that Idris’ tenure was a unique opportunity to address the challenges head-on, and usher in an era of collaboration between the Ministry and the Union. Iziguzo said the NUJ envisioned a partnership that transcends the conventional boundaries of cooperation. “A partnership founded on a shared commitment to safeguarding the principles that define the essence of journalism in our country. “The pursuit of press freedom, safety and security of Journalists, and addressing the economic impediments faced by media operators are aspirations that bind us together in this common cause,” Iziguzo added. He also appealed to the minister to help in addressing the challenge of non remittance of check-off dues to the union. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Iziguzo was accompanied by the President of National Association of Women Journalists, Mrs Ladi Bala and Executive members of NUJ FCT Council.

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