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Minister of Information seeks press freedom, responsible journalism

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The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring a safe environment for journalists, highlighting that a free press is essential for a thriving democracy.

Idris stated this during Wednesday’s book presentation of ‘Writing for Media and Monetising It’ by the Senior Vice Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Leadership Media Group, Azu Ishiekwene, in Abuja.

In his keynote address, Idris stressed the importance of responsible journalism, urging media practitioners to balance their freedom with a sense of duty, ethics, and patriotism.

“As we celebrate this milestone, it is also important to reaffirm the commitment of the Tinubu administration to a free and responsible journalism. We understand that a society can only flourish when its media organs are free to report the truth without fear of retribution and to hold those in authority accountable equally.

“The President Tinubu administration is, therefore, dedicated to creating an environment where journalists can work freely, without intimidation, and with the assurance that their rights will be acknowledged and protected.

“However, freedom comes with responsibility. As we champion the cause of a free press, it is incumbent on the media to exercise this freedom with a sense of duty, ethics and patriotism. The information disseminated to the public must be accurate, balanced, and devoid of sensationalism,” he noted.

The Minister cautioned against the dangers of misinformation and disinformation, which can damage individual reputations and destabilise society.

Highlighting the significance of Ishiekwene’s contribution to the media industry, Idris described the book as a critical resource that bridges the gap between media practice and entrepreneurship.

“He has now done us the huge favour of distilling his great skill, talents and experience into 280 pages of valuable, and monetisable advice. I am glad about the enthusiastic reception that the book is getting, from a wide range of quarters,” the minister noted.

The Minister also commended Ishiekwene’s innovative approach to marketing the book, which includes a dedicated website, Azu.media, and an active social media campaign.

He noted that this exemplifies how media professionals can leverage digital tools to enhance their work and reach a broader audience.

Idris congratulated Ishiekwene on his remarkable achievement and expressed hope that the book would inspire and educate future generations of media professionals, thereby contributing to a more informed and prosperous society.

The Chairman of Leadership Media Group, Zainab Nda-Isaiah, highlighted the struggles faced by journalists, writers, and columnists worldwide, noting that many live in penury despite their significant contributions to shaping public opinion and driving change.

Nda-Isaiah expressed optimism that Ishiekwene’s book would serve as a valuable resource for prospective readers, writers, and columnists, helping to lift them out of obscurity and financial hardship.

She emphasised that the motivation behind the book was to address this conundrum, offering a comprehensive guide that covers the entire process of writing.

“Writers and columnists are thought leaders, who offer great perspectives and challenge the status quo. Their words have the power to inspire change, spark debates and mobilize action, yet it is rather unfortunate that many columnists and writers the world over in my words, are ‘broke’ for lack of a better word.

“I believe that it is this conundrum that brought the idea of writing this book in the offer. This book is a comprehensive guide that covers the entire process of writing.

“This book is in a class of its own because it focuses on the craft of monetising the art of great writing. To achieve this, the author has shared insights, experience and real-life accounts from other renowned people in the industry,” Nda-Isaiah noted.

The author, Ishiekwene emphasised the broader implications of content creation, asserting that “money flows in the direction of value.”

The author stated, “The book is useful for people interested in clear, concise, and impactful communication, especially in any form of writing. What if you are creating other forms of content? Money flows in the direction of value, right? It is possible to monetise content if you get to the point where you are creating any sort of content that people find useful and valuable.

“So my advice to younger people would be that the more deliberate effort they put in studying, reading something valuable, the more creative they will be.

The book was reviewed by a former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati.

The event, held in Abuja, was attended by prominent figures from the media industry, including veterans, publishers, entrepreneurs, editors, academics, and emerging journalists.

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