The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, emphasized that the government’s objective is not to suppress freedom of expression but to encourage constructive communication.
He made this statement during a courtesy visit to his office by a team from Google West Africa on October 12, 2023.
The Minister stressed the importance of providing a platform for people to express themselves openly while underscoring the need for responsible freedom, ensuring it doesn’t lead to anarchy within the country.
Idris assured that the federal government remains committed to promoting freedom of expression, striving to maintain an environment where individuals can freely express themselves and exercise their right to access 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 said.
He commended Google for the good work they were 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”.