Mohammed said even though it is inevitable that the number of online publications grow, only the credible ones would survive.
The Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured that the Federal Government will not regulate online publications in the country, believing the publishers would regulate themselves.
Speaking in Lagos on Friday, Jan. 22, during his meeting with online publishers, the Minister urged the publishers to be credible and responsible, as that is the only sure way to retain their readers.
”If the online publications suffer credibility problems, they stand the risk of losing the confidence of their readers and the advertisers who provide the lifeblood for the publications’ survival”, he said.
Mohammed said even though it is inevitable that the number of online publications grow, only the credible ones would survive and enjoy patronage from advertisers and readers.
He said it is also in the interest of the government that this section of the media grows as it would “bridge the information gap between the government and the governed, and the easier it becomes for the government to carry the citizens along in the formulation and implementation of policies that touch on their lives”.
While promising that the government would patronise online publications in terms of advertising, the Minister said publishers would need to prove accurate information to the people, and avoid sensationalism and partisanship in return.
Addressing the war against corruption issue, Mohammed said it is one of the cardinal programmes of the Buhari-led administration.
He said: ”Some have said the government is dwelling too much on the war against corruption to the detriment of other areas of governance. Our response to that is that indeed, there is nothing like dwelling too much on this war, which is a war of survival for our nation.
”The situation is grim, very grim indeed, as far as corruption is concerned. That is why the Federal Government is embarking on this sensitization Campaign Our approach is not to vilify anyone but to use facts and figures to give Nigerians a sense of the cost of corruption.”
Giving a comparative analysis of the number of those who benefitted from the funds allegedly collected from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and funds allocated for the 2015 Zonal Intervention Projects, Alhaji Mohammed said ”the amount received by 21 individuals and companies from ONSA is more than the 2015 Zonal Intervention Project budget by 2.829 billion Naira!
”Whereas the sum of 51.829 billion Naira was appropriated for 1,278 projects in the Zonal Intervention Projects for 2015, a total of 21 individuals and companies benefited from the Dasukigate to the tune of 54.659 billion Naira as we know so far.
”The implication, therefore, is that the amount received by 21 individuals and companies is more than the 2015 Zonal Intervention Project budget by 2.829 billion Naira! Furthermore, the value of what beneficiaries of Dasukigate contributed to development is zero, compared to how the lives of Nigerians would have been transformed, poverty reduced and livelihoods improved by the Zonal Intervention Projects which would have cost 2.829 billion Naira less than Dasukigate.”
He however urged the publishers to ensure Nigerians are accurately informed about the issue of corruption as it has eaten deep into Nigeria’s system.