President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday urged Nigerian journalists to explore the opportunity of Friday’s World Press Freedom Day to appraise themselves and make fresh commitments to uphold the ethics guiding their noble profession.
The president hailed journalists across the country as they join their professional colleagues all over the world Friday to mark World Press Freedom Day.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, recalled that every May 3 is dedicated to celebrating the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluating press freedom across the world, defending the independence of the media, and paying tribute to journalists who had lost their lives while on professional duties.
According to the statement, the president counselled journalists to observe the ethics of their profession, pointing out that professional misconduct will result in national malaise and emphasised the need for journalists to uphold the principles of fairness, accuracy, objectivity and ethical rules guiding their profession.
“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 emphasise 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 counselled.
According to Adesina, the president observed that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation,” is very salient particularly for Nigeria which had recently concluded a general election.
He also said Buhari urged the media to reflect on the adverse effects of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after the polls.
The president’s spokesman also said Buhari affirmed that the federal government would continue to ensure that the media was not muzzled in any way, especially since democracy and freedom of expression are intertwined.
“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 further said.