Nigeria: Minister decries increase in social media


Labaran Maku, the Nigerian Minister of Information, has expressed concern over the increase in the number of social media in the country. Maku made the observation on Tuesday in Benin City during the meeting of members of the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) Constitutional Review Committee.

Represented by Kingsley Osadolor, a legal practitioner, Maku said the rise of social media in the country was a phenomenon that needed to be addressed as part of the constitutional amendment or in the nearest future.

He said the revolution that was taking place in Egypt, Syria, Libya and other Arab states was as a result of the reports dished out by the social media. Maku warned that the increase in the number social media might result in some traditional journalists losing their jobs.
``What business should the social media have with the NUJ? That is an important phenomenon that needs to be considered,'' he said.

The minister noted that the constitutional review was coming at time when the Freedom of Information Act was operational. He said the FOI Act was not a substitute for ``crucial investigative journalism'', adding that its aim was to aid the journalist to get access to information.

Maku noted that there were procedures and rules guiding the use of the FOI Act, and urged media practitioners to be acquainted with them in order not to get negative responses. ``It is useful and pertinent to know the sources of information that are available to the journalists so that they can tap into those areas,'' he said.

`` The FOI Act is not a substitute for investigative journalism; it must not reduce us into lazy journalists because there are several journalists waiting for information to do their stories,'' he said.

In his address, Emeka Wogu, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, expressed appreciation to the Nigerian Press for its role in promoting peace and highlighting government policies.

Wogu, who was represented by Tommy Okon, his Special Assistant on Media, said the constitution of any organisation, group and association, ``is an indication of how healthy the body is in terms of its operations''.

He said that as the watchdog of the society, it was expected that the NUJ constitutional amendment would address the salient issues affecting journalists and the profession.

``I want to use this medium to thank the media for their positive role in promoting industrial peace and harmony in the country,'' Wogu said.