Government Will Not Stifle Freedom of Expression – Idris

(Middle) The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, alongside Google Executives, during their visit to the Ministry, on 12th October 2023. In Abuja

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said that it is not in the interest of the government to stifle freedom of expression but to promote healthy communication; adding that information is critical to the survival of any country. The Minister made the remark when he received a team from Google West Africa, on a courtesy call to his office on October 12, 2023.

The Minister believed that it is important to have a platform where people can express themselves freely, but added that freedom comes with enormous responsibility which should not translate to an avenue for the creation of anarchy in the country.

He commended the effort to collaborate and find common ground for the regulation of online platforms such that they will not be used against the people that they are meant to serve.

Mr. Idris disclosed that the federal government will continue to promote freedom of expression, allowing the environment to be free for everybody to express themselves and have the right of access to information. He noted that it is critical that those who are responsible for bringing out this information or creating the platforms are also very conscious of the fact that it can easily be used against the people it is meant to serve.

“We will partner with Google in promoting the free flow of information because democracy cannot survive without freedom of expression.”

He commended Google for the good work they are doing and stated that the Ministry would continue to engage with them and with others in its category to see that the issue of fake news becomes a thing of the past.

In his remark, the leader of the delegation from Google West Africa, Mr. Olumide Balogun, stated that in the last three years, Google has trained over 3,500 journalists to use different tools for news verification, including digital tools to manage misinformation.

“We have the Google News integration team that helps news organizations across the world, including Nigeria through what is called “Google Innovation Challenge” to innovate and introduce new innovations to news organizations, one of the innovations that we funded, called ‘full fact’ is an AI technology that helps in fact-checking”.

The Google team pledged to support the Ministry by training staff on online skills.

Suleiman Haruna

Deputy Director, Press

Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation

October 13, 2023