Nigeria, Al Jazeera to collaborate in capacity building for NTA, others

Nigeria and Doha-based international broadcaster, Al Jazeera, are to collaborate in the area of capacity building for journalists in the government-owned media organisations, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

This followed a request made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, for Al Jazeera to collaborate with his office in its efforts to restructure the NTA and other publicly-funded media establishments to enhance their performance.

He said the collaboration could be in the areas of capacity building as well as exchange of programmes and personnel.

“Our plan is to reposition the public media organisations to make them effective and competitive, irrespective of which government is in power,” Mohammed said during a meeting with the Acting Director General of Al Jazeera, Dr. Mostafa Souag, in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday.

“For a long time, government media organisations have lost their independence and credibility. I want to restore the glory and credibility of the publicly-owned media organisations,” he said.

The minister also called for a special relationship between Al Jazeera and the Nigerian government in the coverage of the key policy areas of President Muhammadu Buhari administration – the fight against corruption and terrorism as well as the efforts to revamp the economy.

He assured Al Jazeera that the present administration in Nigeria ”is an extremely open government” and that the organisation would not have any problem doing its work in the country.

Responding, Souag hailed Nigeria for providing a conducive environment for the media to carry out its duties.

“Despite a lot of conflict and tension, you have managed to create a conducive environment for the media. This is very important for us in the media and we hope to see more freedom and more protection for the media,” he said.

Souag said Al Jazeera is willing to cooperate with the ministry in the area of training, adding: “Our training centre is one of the most professional in every aspect of the media. We are more than happy to work with you.”

Mohammed is in Qatar to attend the 2016 Annual Congress of the International Press institute (IPI).