Journalists have been called to always report fair and balanced stories that would boost and promote national security in the country.
The Honorable Minister of information and culture, Alh. Lai Muhammed made the call on Tuesday at a 2-day national conference on culture, peace, and national security; the role of the media, organized by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), held at Mumbayya House, Kano.
The Minister was represented by the Director of International Cultural Relations at the ministry, Maimuna Idu-lah.
The Minister commended the management of NICO for consistently carrying out public enlightenment and sensitization programs geared toward drawing national attention to the importance of culture as the bedrock of national development as well as advocacy for the entrenchment of national development.
“This year’s edition of the conference which is focusing on the role of the media is well conceived and could not have come at a more auspicious time in the face of the current security challenges bedeviling our country.
“The present administration led by President Muhammed Buhari is fully committed to ensuring that the security challenges we are facing as a nation are decisively tackled.
“It is against this background that the role of critical stakeholders especially the media cannot be overemphasized”.
Lai Muhammed said: “Reporting as well as the phenomenon of fake news, hate speech, and misinformation has the capacity to worsen the security situation.
“They do not only create fear among the citizens but can also adversely affect the morale of our security personnel.
“We, therefore, appeal to our media practitioners to accord national interest priority in the discharge of their constitutional and professional duties.”
Speaking on the theme of the conference, the Executive Secretary NICO, Ado Mohammed Yahuza said that the major mandate of NICO is to utilize the diversity of this country by bringing unity and national development.
“We achieve this through different programs; one of which is the national conference.
“We take a current theme that is very necessary, such as peace and unity, and how the media plays the role of uniting and separating the truth to ensure peace in the country.
“We look at the issues of fake news, underreported stories, and the positive impact the media can play in these areas.”
The CEO of NICO said that the country is in dire need of responsible and patriotic media practitioners who will desist from sharing news that can cause harm to society and the nation at large.
He, therefore, advised journalists to put the country first when reporting, which is why scholars and media experts are present at the conference to reorient newsmen and the public.