Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has said despite negative reports about the Muhammmadu Buhari administration, the media remains partner of government in the discharge of their responsibilities to educate, inform and entertain.
This is even as he has charged media practitioners to do all within their powers to halt the spread of fake news before it consumes the nation. The Vice President made the remark on Thursday night at a dinner for heads of media organizations across the country.
The event, put together by the Presidential Villa’s media and communication team, was to appreciate the practitioners for their role in sustaining democracy in the last four years.
Osinbajo said: “I want to say how very thankful I am, for the support we get every day from the press and to say that for good and for ill at all times, whether you report nicely or not so nicely, you will always be friends and partners.”
Speaking more on fake news especially on social media, Osinbajo while making reference to an old video that recently went viral, where people were seen jumping from a burning high-rise building, purported to be Nigerians based in South Africa running from xenophobic attacks, he said: “I thought somebody in the media; may be radio, may be TV, could seize the initiative and correct the fake news. I think that we as media people, all of us are now media people on social media, print, TV must begin to do something serious about fake news before it consumes us all.”
Speaking on how the media was awash with the story of Buhari’s certificate saga from Cambridge University, wondered why the media could not see through the lies being peddled on social media. He however admonished the media to always cross check and report the facts to avoid crisis.
According to him, “Because nobody bothered to find out or didn’t want to find out, the public believed a lie for so long even after the President had brought his certificate from Cambridge West African School. So, with the anonymity of the social media, every day the problems of a free press are becoming more and more complex and even more dangerous.”
In a good will message, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who was represented by Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi) Senate majority leader, thanked the media for always supporting all arms of government, for their good job during the country’s general election and the election of principal officers of the 9th National Assembly.
Earlier, Secretary to Government of the Federation, (SGF) Boss Mustapha, thanked the Nigerian media for its massive support. He noted that the Buhari‘s administration runs a very accountable and transparent government, thus laying the foundation for a sound economy.