Minister of information and national orientation Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi has said the federal government is not interested in stifling the media and free flow of information.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a democrat and democracy cannot thrive without freedom of expression,” he said.
Malagi stated this Thursday when he received Director of Google in West Africa Olumide Balogun at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
“We know that information desemination is critical to the survival of any country and I as a minister, i am also from this industry and I believe that it is important for us to have a free press.
” I feel that once people communicate, once people are able to put information out there it reduces tension and the menace of fake news.
“Stifling or trying to gag that platform that people get information is not in anyone’s interest. I don’t think there is any responsible person that will be interested in saying look don’t give out information.”
He however, warned that freedom must come with responsibility.
He said Nigeria is such a sensitive country and anything that will create tension will not be tolerated.
“Freedom as I would often say comes with responsibility. You have enomous responsibility to ensure that freedom does not translate to an avenue for the creation of anarchy for our people.
“We want to stay united and in peace and sometimes if you feel that the knife in the kitchen will be harmful, you remove it and make do with whatever is available.
“Thank God there is an international collaboration trying to find a common ground to regulate platforms such as yours so that it will not be used against the people that it is meant to serve.
“While government is interested in freedom of information, allowing environment to be free for everybody to express themselves, and for everyone to have the right to know and right to access any kind of information, it is also critical for those who are responsible in bringing out these information, creating the platforms for these to happen are also very concious of the fact that it can also be used against the very people that it is meant to serve,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Balogun expressed the commitment of Google to partner with the federal government to empower Nigerians with skills that will enable them contribute to national development.
He however advised the government create an enabling environment that will enable the high internet penetration in Nigeria translate to economic growth.