The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Thursday stated that traditional media houses in the country are doing themselves a great disservice by regurgitating whatever is published or reported by its foreign counterpart.
Naija News reports that the Minister stated this in Abuja while briefing journalists on the recent report by The Economist that the Jihadist threat in the North-east has ‘metastasized’ so much so that the terrorists are carving out a Caliphate for themselves in the North-east.
Mohammed stated that the claim by the foreign newspaper’s claim has no basis given that it was coming at a time that Boko Haram and ISWAP are taking on each other in mutually-destructive lockstep, and at a time that the terrorists are surrendering in droves as a result of heavy pounding by the military.
He reminded journalists of “before Dec. 2015 when I led a team of local and international journalists to Bama in Borno state, Boko Haram established the headquarters of its so-called Caliphate in that town (Bama), where it hoisted its flag, collected taxes as well as installed and removed Emirs at will. Today, Boko Haram has no Caliphate anywhere in Nigeria. Yet, the Nigerian press regurgitated that report by The Economist”.
While dismissing the report as patently wrong and badly-researched, Mohammed regretted that the story was immediately amplified by the local media without even interrogating its content, stressing that such practice is totally antithetical to Nigerian media’s reputation of independence and vibrancy.
“Why would the Nigerian media become an echo chamber for a foreign newspaper that denigrates the Nigerian military and makes light of the sacrifices of our valiant troops? Would the British or American press regurgitate a report in the Nigerian press denigrating their militaries?” he asked
The Minister went on to state that “I do not believe that the Nigerian media hates this country, neither will I agree that the media does not appreciate our military. But I appeal to you to stop endorsing the denigration of our country, our military, our institutions by some unscrupulous foreign media. By regurgitating their inaccurate stories about Nigeria, you are endorsing their stand. The Nigerian media was mandated to be a watchdog, not a lapdog.”