Minister tasks media on fact-checking

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L-R: Sunday Editor of The Guardian, Alhaji Kabiru Alabi, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja and the FCT Bureau Chief, Dr. Bridget Onochie, when the management of the media house paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on Tuesday 25th May 2021.

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*As Guardian re-engineers, evolves into a multi-media platform

By BASHIR ADEFAKA

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has advised media organizations to set up a special desk for fact-checking in order to guard against being misled by fake news and misinformation.

The Minister gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday when he received the management of the Guardian Newspaper on a courtesy visit, according to a statement issued and copy of which was sent to The DEFENDER by Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the Special Assistant to the President on Media in the Office of the Minister of Information and Culture.

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Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Martins Oloja (left) presenting a publication on the newspaper to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed (right), when the management of the media house paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja on Tuesday 25th May 2021.

“I believe it will not be out of place for reputable media organizations like the Guardian to set up a special desk for fact-checking as a panacea for this problem. That way, you can help

citizens to separate fact from fiction. I am aware that some media organizations are already doing this, but it must be taken seriously by every media establishment.

“In an era of fake news and misinformation, the media has a duty to get its facts right. The media does itself a great favour by ensuring that charlatans and hack writers do not dominate the media space, as it’s increasingly becoming the case here in Nigeria

“It is said that for the media to be able to play its role, which is to inform, criticize and stimulate debate, it must take responsibility for whatever it puts out. In other words, it must get its facts right. But can we say today that most of what we read, hear and watch in the news are factual?” He inquired.

Alhaji Mohammed said in the past few days alone, his office has received appeals from many concerned Nigerians asking the Federal Government to do something about the rising wave of fake news and misinformation.

He said he is also aware that, publicly, some well meaning Nigerians have issued such appeals, and gave the assurance that the government will be taking a more concrete step on this in the months ahead.

The Minister said the issue of fake news and misinformation is not just about the government alone, as some have insinuated, noting that homes have been ruined and that many people have been pushed into depression with fake news and misinformation

He hailed the Nigerian media which, he said, is widely regarded as being independent and fearless, saying that the government continues to view the media as a strong partner.

In his remarks, the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian, Mr. Martins Oloja, told the Minister that the newspaper is re-engineering itself and evolving into a multi-media platform.

He said The Guardian remains loyal to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would not yield its platform to those seeking to undermine the country’s unity.

This courtesy visit by The Guardian was coming 19 days after The DEFENDER’s management led by AIG Mu’azu Idris Hadejia (Rtd), its President Advisory Board, paid the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa, what he described as first such ‘commendation visit’ ever to happen to his agency by any media organisation. Defender Media Limited, publishers of The DEFENDER, paid the NDLEA boss, General Marwa, a courtesy visit, during which it presented him with a Letter of Commendation on Thursday 6th May 2021.


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