By Emmanuel Elebeke

ABUJA—The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has appealed to the media to always ensure fairness, impartiality, truth and accuracy in reporting the activities of government, in line with the principles of responsible journalism.

Lai Mohammed

This came as the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, the FCT Council called on all media organisations in the country to make payment of salaries a priority and where such media organisations feel they are unable to do so, they should consider merging with other media houses or risk running out of business.

It urged all media owners who have deliberately and criminally refused to pay the salaries of journalists in their employ to understand that it was a violation of their right as such negates any known law on contractual obligation.

Meanwhile, the Minister in a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr Segun Adeyemi, said: “That as an important pillar of democracy, the media must purge itself of all prejudice in order to be able to hold all the levels and arms of government to account.

“While commending the media for its role so far in promoting democracy in Nigeria, Alhaji Mohammed said the media should strive to operate above political influence and interference.

“He said as the political parties and the nation in general prepare for another electioneering process, the media must ensure the transparency of the entire political process through unbiased and objective reporting.”

“The Minister expressed concern at how some vested political interests are exploring the media to promote divisions along ethnic and religious lines in the country, saying such unpatriotic conduct will not augur well for the nation’s unity and progress.

“He said the government is not unaware of the effort of mischief makers to use the social media, in particular, to undermine the government and promote ethno-religious crisis, especially ahead of the forthcoming general election.”

Abuja NUJ council in its message to mark the World Press Freedom day, commended journalists who have continued to stay true to the calling of their profession despite increasing threats, intimidation, harassment and arbitrary arrests by security agents and sometimes negative backlash from  some sections of the society.

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