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World Press Freedom Day: Buhari urges journalists to recommit to ethics

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President Muhammadu Buhari has saluted Nigerian journalists as they join their professional colleagues across the world to mark World Press Freedom Day.

President Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday, urged the journalists to use the day to appraise and recommit themselves to the ethics that guide their noble profession.

He 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.”

While celebrating the World Press Freedom Day, President Buhari urged the journalists to rededicate themselves to the role of being watchdogs of society.

He, however, enjoined them to be “mindful of the cohesion and equilibrium of that same society.

“There are always those who want to use the media to emphasise our fault lines as a people, dwell on primordial sentiments, and keep the country perpetually on the same spot.

“Be wary of such.”

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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 its general elections.

He urged the media to reflect on the deleterious effect of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after the polls.

President Buhari affirmed that the 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.

The World Press Freedom Day is observed every May 3 to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the practice of their profession.

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