A group, the Online Publishers Association of Nigeria, OPAN, has dissociated itself from a purported meeting the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had with some online publishers in the country.
The group claimed that the widely reported meeting was held with a group of online practitioners who had sought registration but was asked by the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to drop their preferred name because it conflicted with that of OPAN, the pioneers.
OPAN maintained that if the federal government actually wanted to engage online publications, it should have do so with titles and designated representative.
Stressing that it was dubious for government to say it had a “meeting with online publishers in Nigeria”, it wondered how what it termed a propaganda?-?premised platform “being ?promoted ?as a private project? by a Special Adviser in the Presidency” can be made to represent the industry.
A statement issued on Saturday by its President reads that OPAN “wish?es? to deny; disassociate ? itself from? and debunk the impression ?being ?created that the Honourable Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed ?met? with Online Publishers of Nigeria as widely reported in print and online media outlets in the last few days.
“While we recognize the right of the Ministry of Information and indeed the whole communication ? structure? of the Government to engage with all media practitioners of all genres; we believe that engagements should be with titles and their designated representatives.
“An association of professionals created to ensure standards has the fundamental responsibility to remain fair, objective and balanced both in its conduct and engagements in a manner that ensures its mandate remains that of its industry and members.
“The meeting widely reported is one we believe was held with a group of online practitioners who had sought registration but was asked by the Corporate Affairs Commission to drop the use of its name as it conflicted with OPAN, the pioneers. This group later amended its name,?and is ?still ?being ?promoted ?as a private project?by a Special Adviser in the Presidency.
“This propaganda?-?premised platform is now being represented as the industry. This is not the case and the members of the public are advised to be aware.
“We advise that the generic use of the word “meeting with online publishers in Nigeria” by a government that is yet to recognize the role, place and value of online publishing in our extant laws is dubious at best.”