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Lai Mohammed Blast NTA, FRCN, Others Over Unprofessionalism

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***Says Private Broadcasters More Credible

The new Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Thursday blamed Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, and other Federal Government-owned media organizations of throwing professionalism to the wind and showing total disregard for editorial independence.

The minister who made the statement during his maiden meeting with heads of parastatals under the ministry in Abuja said that private broadcasters are much credible.

He stated that government-owned media organizations always complain of financial woes, forgetting that there is a link between credibility and profitability.

The statement read, “Let me start with the Federal Government-owned media organizations, the NTA, FRCN and NAN. Why have you all chosen to play second fiddle in the country’s media landscape? I ask because the NTA and FRCN of yesterday is not the same as what we have today.

“Whereas most broadcast journalists of note in our country today passed through the NTA and the FRCN, there is no denying the fact that the private radio and TV stations are doing much better, at least going by the fact that most Nigerians prefer them to the public broadcasters. Indeed, most Nigerians find the private broadcasters more credible.

“The reason for this is not farfetched. First, the public broadcasters have thrown professionalism to the wind while also showing total disregard for editorial independence. They have mortgaged their credibility on the altar of political correctness. Yet, these Federal Government-owned media establishments are endowed with highly-trained and well-qualified personnel, better infrastructure and a wide reach.

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“It is interesting to note that these government-owned media organizations complain of financial woes, forgetting that there is a link between credibility and profitability. Advertisers will surely flock to more credible media organizations, and of course it is also true that content drives advertisement.

“The same law of diminishing returns also apply to NAN, which was once the leading national news agency in the whole of Africa, boasting of the best professionals in the news business. Today, the agency is punching far below its weight, despite its presence in all the states of the Federation.

The new minister said that he intends to provide leadership for the Federal Government-owned media organizations in a manner that will make them to become the first source of information, so that they can more effectively function as a vehicle for the change mantra of the Buhari Administration, and also regain their lost glory.

“The combined reach of the NTA, FRCN and NAN, if effectively utilized, will facilitate the success of the change campaign. But they must first enhance their own credibility, because no credibility-deficient news organization can successfully propagate the message of change.

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“At this juncture, ladies and gentlemen, let me assure Nigerians that under this Administration, no Federal Government-owned media organization will deny the opposition the opportunity to air theirviews.

It is true that while we were in opposition, we were treated as outcasts by these public broadcasters. They denied us the use of their platforms, they rejected our adverts and even made themselves available for the most abhorrent hate campaign ever in the history of electioneering campaign in our country.

“But in an era of change, which is our mantra, that cannot and will not continue. Opposition members are Nigerians, just like members of the ruling party. Even the ruling party will benefit when the opposition is allowed to air their views freely, because you learn more from people who disagree with you. Therefore, let the ruling party and the opposition air their ideas and let the people, who wield the ultimate power, decide at the end of the day,” he said.

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