By Kola Bola
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the Federal Government would not do anything to stifle press freedom in the country.
Mohammed said government clearly knows that freedom of the press is indispensable for any democracy to become a success story.
In a press statement signed by the Senior Assistant to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Segun Adeyemi, Mohammed said the “Federal Government has nothing to do with the recent arrest of Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher of the online newspaper, Premium Times, and a reporter working for the paper, Ms. Evelyn Okakwu.”
Mohammed added that “the whole issue of the journalists’ arrest is purely a private affair involving a citizen and a privately-owned newspaper.”
The Minister wondered how that could then be construed as an attempt by the government to intimidate the press from doing its legitimate duty of news reportage.
”We have said it before and we want to re-state it. The Federal Government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the Social Media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,” Mohammed said.
It would be recalled that Premium Times’ publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, and Reporter of the medium were picked up last week. Though they released the following day but critic saw the development as a throwback to the military era in the country.
Recently too, publisher of another online medium, Sahara Reporters, Sowore Omoyele, was also arrested in a commando-like style by the police about a fortnight ago. He was released same night.