The federal government said it would continue to guarantee freedom of the press to ensure that Nigerians have access to accurate and reliable information.
Speaking at an appreciation dinner with editors and other top operators of the media industry at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said government would not muzzle the press as it performs the important work of providing the public with reliable and quality information.
He said no real democracy could exist without freedom of the press, and called on media organisations to partner with relevant stakeholders in combating the menace of fake news and disinformation in the society.
He said fake news are inimical to the wellbeing of any organised society.
”We will continue to support an independent media that gives the public credible news, enlightens us to think more critically and act more honourably to address pressing national challenges.
”We will equally support efforts from media organisations to combat disinformation in all forms, especially fake news which are detrimental to the peace, security and unity of the nation,” he said.
He said the event was organised to honour media practitioners in the country because the present administration values the contributions of the media in nation building.
”That is why in the past four years, the PCT has provided a platform for key government officials to regularly engage Editors and Media Managers in-camera briefing sessions to exchange views on some pressing challenges facing our dear country,” he said.
He said the quarterly briefings by top government functionaries had provided an opportunity for the government to showcase its agenda to the Nigerian people and forge stronger partnerships and synergy for the benefit of the citizens.
”I make bold to say that since I assumed office as Secretary to the Government of the Federation we have run a government that is accountable to the public by all standards.
”The Buhari administration has laid a solid foundation for Nigeria’s economic development through massive investments in agriculture, power, transportation infrastructure and manufacturing,” he said.
He said the federal government had taken measures to tackle leakage in public resources, saying billions of naira had so far been recovered from corrupt individuals and organisations.
”The anti-corruption fight is upbeat. The control measures to tackle leakage in public resources have saved us billions of naira, while those who stole our common patrimony are being made to return what they illegally acquired for themselves and their cronies through the legal process,” he said.
He said the present administration would continue to partner with the media in its determination to place Nigeria on the path of rapid growth and sustainable development.
”We will always count on your role as the watchdog of the society, partners in progress, and the conscience of the nation,” he said.