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U.S. asks media to amplify issues affecting citizens

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United States Consul General in Lagos, Claire Pierangelo, challenged media in Nigeria to continue to play an effective role in amplifying important issues that affect the citizens.

At the 2021 World Press Freedom Day Webinar on “Frontiers of Health Reporting: New Insights, Fresh Perspectives”, he said the role of a free and independent press is more important now than ever, adding that the theme for this year’s celebration emphasised the need for the global community to unite against COVID-19.

Pierangelo stated that the United States government would continue to emphasise the value of promoting and protecting a free press, because the media plays such an essential role of preserving democracy and providing information that saves lives.

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“We all know that a free press is essential to a healthy democracy. The news media can be a powerful force for change. It can effectively fulfill the roles of watchdog, gatekeeper, and agenda-setter. It can improve governance by raising citizen awareness of social issues, enabling them to hold their governments to account, curbing corruption, and creating a civic forum for debate”, he said.

The consul general advised that media professionals must continue to track political and institutional processes by which decisions are taken and implemented at the local, state and national levels, stressing that reports must critically analyse the methods and the effectiveness of projects in the field.

“The public depends on your reports in print, audiovisual, and online to assess how their elected representatives are performing. As journalists, you can assess how health budgets are managed and whether there are adequate checks and balances in place for effective governance. This is what allows citizens to know whether their local officials are fulfilling their promises and meeting their obligations.”

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