FG rejects Nigeria’s rating on press freedom

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The Federal Government has described as “inaccurate’’ the recent survey by Reporters Without Borders, which alleged that Nigeria’s press freedom rating has been on sustained decline since 2015.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja to mark the World Press Freedom Day 2017.

According to the minister, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration is committed to the freedom of the press.

He said in spite of the inaccurate and fake news saturating the media space, the Federal Government had not put a single journalist behind bars as a result of his or her professional conduct.

Mohammed said though there were reports that some states had been hard on some journalists and bloggers for alleged misconduct, it had not been the policy of this government to join issues with the media.

The minister reiterated Federal Government’s unflinching commitment to upholding the tenets of democracy, which include free press and freedom of speech.

He said the recent incident involving the Punch Correspondent covering the State House, Olalekan Adetayo” is an aberration”.

Mohammed noted that the speed with which the order barring the correspondent from the State House was reversed lent credence to the fact that the government was not out to muzzle the press.

He recalled that the accreditation of the current Chairman of the State House Press Corps, Ubale Musa, which was withdrawn by the previous administration, was immediately restored upon the assumption of office by the Buhari Administration.

He said actions were to give the media unhindered access to the seat of power.

The minister pledged the readiness of the present administration to always create a conducive environment for the media to thrive and to continue to discharge its constitutional mandate without hindrance.

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