The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has disclosed that his principal will not request any journalist to “kill” stories for him.
Adesina said instead of doing that, the administration will rather encourage newsmen to run stories that will critically examine the workings of government and provide it with the way forward.
A statement on Sunday by the President of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Malachy Agbo, said Adesina said these on Thursday at a dinner held for him and other presidential spokesmen by the online publishers.
Also hosted by the GOCOP members were the Senior Special Assistant on Media to President Buhari, Malam Garba Shehu, and the Senior Special Assistant in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande.
Adesina said the first thing the President told him when he assumed office was: “Always tell me the truth.”
He said Buhari was emphatic when he equally told him that as a General he loved to argue, but would always bow to superior arguments.
He added: “The President told me: ‘Please do not fail to argue with me.'”
Adesina is one of its Trustees of GOCOP.
Adesina said Buhari has vowed to run an open and transparent government so much that he would have nothing to hide and would have no cause to want to ask for any story to be “killed”.
He said the only thing he asked is that for any news item, the Presidency should be allowed the opportunity to state its side before being put in the public domain.
Adesina commended the online publishers for coming together to form a group, even as he advised them to look out for spoilers, gate crashers and those who might hide under the canopy of online publishing to damage the reputation of innocent public officers.
He said: “There is a saying that one bad coin can spoil hundreds of other coins.
“My advice is that you should not allow any of your members to use the platform to malign innocent people.
“You should also find a way of sanitising the social media practitioners who just sit in their bedrooms to churn out news without professional touch.”
Also speaking, Shehu thanked members of the Guild for the support they gave him when he handled the media and publicity department of All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council (APCPPC) as Director.
According to him, the APCPPC was the poorest in terms of resources, “but the richest in terms of people’s goodwill.
“And the online publishers were the greater part of that process.”
Akande similarly acknowledged the contribution of the online media and the social media in the actualisation of the Buhari Presidency.
He advised Nigerians to adopt the government as their own because “this is the change we have been talking about”.
Earlier, Agbo had assured the presidential spokesmen of the support and cooperation of the members, even as he appealed to them to always make themselves available for any news item that requires clarification.
He assured them that members of the Guild, who are veterans in the journalism profession, would continue to support them with prayer to achieve success in their assignment.
Several other GOCOP members who spoke at the occasion commended the presidential media team for recognising the important role of the online media in modern information dissemination and appealed to them to keep it up.