President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted journalists across the country as they join their professional colleagues round the globe tomorrow to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
May 3 is set aside every year to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom; evaluate press freedom round the world; defend media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
Buhari, in a goodwill message, urged Nigerian journalists to use the day to appraise and recommit themselves to the ethics that guide their noble profession.
In a statement made available to The Tide by Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Buhari said: “Without adherence to ethics, professions turn awry, and become part of national malaise, rather than solutions.
“That is why journalists must constantly recommit to the canons of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and other ideals that guide their profession.
“On this occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I urge you to rededicate yourselves to the role of being watchdogs of society, while being mindful of the cohesion and equilibrium of that same society.
“There are always those who want to use the media to emphasize our fault lines as a people, dwell on primordial sentiments, and keep the country perpetually on the same spot. Be wary of such.”
The President noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation, was quite germane for Nigeria, having recently concluded her general elections, and urged the media to reflect on the
deleterious effect of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after elections.
He affirmed that his government would continue to ensure that the media was not muzzled in any way, since democracy and freedom of expression were kindred spirits.
“Our administration is committed to the highest levels of transparency, and we will guarantee press freedom at all times. We only require that the freedom be used responsibly, and for lofty ideals of national unity and development,” the President asserted.