Buhari, Lawan recommit to free press as Ortom gets backlash
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration’s commitment to free press, urging the professionals to wield freedom responsibly and without licentiousness.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja at an event to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day holding today, the Nigerian leader pointed out that freedom of the press was “an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, but must be used responsibly.”
He went on: “That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now.
“The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, and anything that would exacerbate the situation should be avoided. The media need to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, they do not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity.”
Licentious freedom, the President stressed, was different from liberty with responsibility, urging the press to identify with the latter.
Buhari pledged greater cooperation for the media to in line with this year’s theme, ‘Information as a Public Good.’ He charged those managing information for government to prioritise public interest, encouraging newsmen to leverage the Freedom of Information Act for improved delivery.
IN his goodwill message, Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured patriots that the National Assembly would sanction any law that impedes on seamless flow of information.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, the nation’s third citizen, while felicitating with Nigerian journalists, noted: “It is in this light that I call on the practitioners to purge their noble profession of the bad eggs whose nefarious activities are denting the credibility and reputation of the mainstream practitioners.”
He challenged the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) leadership to adopt practical measures in checking activities of purveyors of fake news.
ALSO yesterday, the Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ) deplored the “illegal arrest and detention” of its member and State House correspondent of the Peoples Daily newspaper, Sunday Ode, by the police
In a statement by its vice president, Ewache Ajefu, the group maintained that the arrest breached Ode’s fundamental human rights. CBJ stead: “We are aware that the illegal arrest of Mr. Ode is at the instance of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, through his counsel, Samuel E. Irabor (esq). After a petition dated 14-04-2021 and addressed to the Commissioner Of Police, Benue State Command alleging that our colleague wrote a report that is injurious to his client.”
Furthermore, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF) implored the three tiers of government to activate press freedom and newsmen to use information as a tool for nation building.
A statement by the Communications Officer, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, quoted Executive, Ann Iyonu, as describing the theme of this year’s event as apt.
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