Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: British Former Minister Scolds Local Press

London — A former British Minister for Africa Baroness Lynda Chalker has criticised the Nigerian press for focusing on negative issues rather than propagating the many positive things that abound in the country.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of the 13th meeting of the Honorary International Investment Council (HIIC) in London yesterday, Baroness Chalker said the Nigerian press "has let the country down". Chalker is the co-ordinator of HIIC.

"Nigerian media should focus on positive things which are there," she said, explaining that the international press usually picks up what the local media and Nigerians say about their country.

"Even people who have not been to Nigeria make negative comments about the country. If you ask them how the formed their opinion, they will tell you they picked it from the Nigerian media and Nigerians. The media should get their facts right and highlight positive issues about the country, she stressed.

She said a lot of progress was being made in Nigeria, which she said, "has real opportunities", but pointed out that a lot of the problems confronting the country were not being tackled yet.

Speaking in the same vein, Minister of Information Mr. Labaran Maku accused Nigerian media of "bandying" negative statements about the country and turning them into "declarations" without bothering to find out the facts.

"The Nigeria media is so negative about the country. They are not interested in believing the progress being made in the country. They are running the country down".

"You can't blame the international media, because they are re-echoing what the local press say about their country," he said, and urged the Nigerian media to be more cautious and objective.

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