Nigeria: Minister urges broadcast media owners to shun divisive elements

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed Monday appealed to the private broadcast media owners in Nigeria not to allow their platforms to be used to propagate ideas that can hinder national unity.

''They (private broadcast media owners) must realize that in order to be able to practice their profession at all, they must first have a peaceful and united country. It is important for the private broadcast media owners to avoid the temptation to use their platforms to promote ethnic or religious agenda that are inimical to the emergence of a strong, peaceful, united and developed nation,'' he said when he met with the Northern Broadcast Media Owners Association (NBMOA), who paid him a courtesy call in his office in the nation's capital, Abuja.

Alhaji Mohammed reminded the private broadcast media owners that irrespective of their location, they have a wide reach because their news and programmes are routinely uploaded to their websites, where they can be assessed by anyone with access to the Internet within and outside the country.

He said radio and television constitute a very powerful platform, because they are instant, emotive and are the sources of news and information for a large number of people.

''That also increases their ability to help shape opinions, one way or another. This is why owners of such powerful platforms must exercise a high level of responsibility, be patriotic and also ensure that they put the national interest above sectional or sectarian considerations,'' the Minister said

To buttress his point, Alhaji Mohammed mentioned the role played in the 1994 Rwandan genocide by the Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLMC).

''RTLMC, which began broadcasting In June 1993, helped to prepare the ground for genocide in Rwanda by demonising the Tutsi and encouraging hate and violence. In the end, over 800,000 people died in that genocide,'' he said.

The Minister said that for too long, Nigerians have taken the country's unity for granted, adding: ''We have failed to make a conscious effort to continue to play up those things that unite us, while playing down the ones that divide us. We have failed to take a cue from countries like
Canada, which would have lost the province of Quebec but for its consistent and conscious effort to work on the country's unity.''

PANA reports that the Minister's appeal was an apparent reaction to the ongoing use of radio broadcasting to propagate the secessionist campaign by some groups in South-east Nigeria.
-0- PANA SEG 30Nov2015

30 november 2015 21:06:47

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