The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi, has reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to empowering its youth through Media and Information Literacy (MIL).
A statement signed by Deputy Director, Press of the ministry Suleiman Haruna on Wednesday disclosed that he made the commitment at the Global Media and Information Literacy Week at the UN House, Abuja.
“Mr. President remains committed to pursuing, supporting, and promoting MIL policies and programmes that will enhance the development and capacities of our citizens, especially the youth, in the effective use of media and information literacy,” he said.
The Minister said the government is working with UNESCO and other relevant partners to integrate MIL into Nigerian education system, train journalists and other media professionals, and raise greater awareness of MIL among the general public.
He expressed pride that Nigeria successfully hosted the 11th edition of Global Media and Information Literacy Week last year, receiving UNESCO’s highest rating.
“The event concluded with the signing of the Abuja Declaration, a global call to action for financing MIL initiatives and collaboration among stakeholders,” he said.
The UNESCO Executive Board, he said, has adopted the Abuja Declaration, recognizing its importance in promoting positive internet use, combating disinformation, and benefiting not only Nigeria but also countries in the sub-region.
According to him, the Board has also approved the UNESCO International Media and Information Literacy Institute to be sited in Nigeria, with the aim of enhancing digital literacy and empowering citizens, especially youth.
Malagi emphasized the importance of combating misinformation and disinformation in our digital age.
According to him, “The consequences, such as a decline in trust in institutions, the exacerbation of social divisions, and the incitement of violence, have become tools in the hands of desperate and unscrupulous individuals to undermine our world while hiding behind the pretext of freedom of expression.
He called for a united global effort to promote media literacy and build a more informed and resilient world.
He emphasized the need for collective action, stating, “We must unite globally to combat the harmful effects of misinformation and disinformation. By promoting media literacy and implementing global guidelines for regulating digital platforms, we can uphold freedom of expression while holding users accountable.”
In his speech, Mr. Diallo Abdourahamane, who spoke on behalf of the Director-General of UNESCO, emphasized the increasing popularity of digital networks for self-expression, knowledge acquisition, and social interaction.