By Angela Nkwocha
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has tasked journalists on professional reportage stressing that it is key to democracy and good governance not just in Nigeria but the world at large.
The Minister gave the charge on Monday in Abuja while declaring open a one-week training for Information Communication Technology, reporters in Abuja themed “Digital Skills in News Reportage for ICT journalists” hosted by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the supervision of the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
The Minister averred that the ability to promote or destroy democracy rests on the power of journalists.
“Responsible journalism is key to democracy and good governance not only in Nigeria but globally. Journalism that is based on professionalism. If journalists understand their work and they do it professionally they are in the fore front of catapaulting democracy but if they fail to do that they will be at the fore front of destroying democracy”.
He tasked journalists to take advantage of the training and improve themselves as the training is part of efforts to ensure a Digital Nigeria.
“This training is part of the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy on Strategy for a Digital Nigeria”.
He however noted that prices of data and telecommunication services are expected to crash by 40 percent following steps so far taken by the Federal Government to attract huge local and foreign investments.
According to the Minister, the government has addressed two critical challenges in the telecommunications industry, particularly Right of Way (RoW) Charges and infrastructural protection and development.
He said improvement on infrastructure has pushed up broadband penetration from 30 percent to 40.18 within the past one year.
On his part the Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa while commending the Minister said digital skills are more critical now than they ever were as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we are moving from the initial phase of Coronavirus pandemic emergency response to the recovery phase and reemerging phase, we have seen a lot with the pandemic and the pandemic has forced you and I to embrace new practices such as social distances and remote everything.
“As we get set to embrace this new normal, we are set to reskill ourselves and it has been proven that the only thing that works well under this pandemic is digital technology, which remains the only way to get out of this pandemic”, he said.