President Buhari assures journalists of freedom, urges restraint, patriotism.
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured journalists that his administration would not muzzle the press, stating that democracy and freedom of expression were kindred spirits.
Buhari saluted media practitioners in the country, who, today, join their professional colleagues across the globe to mark the 2019 World Press Freedom Day.
Urging restraint from journalists in the cause of prosecuting their constitutional duties, the president cautioned media organizations against dwelling on fault lines, primordial sentiments, and related ills, adding that the development had perpetually stagnated the nation.
He admonished the celebrants to use the occasion to appraise and recommit themselves to the ethics of the noble profession.
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 ideas that guide their profession.
“On this occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I urge you to rededicate ourselves 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.”
He observed that the theme of this year’s celebration, “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation”, was apt considering that Nigeria recently concluded its general elections.
The first citizen enjoined the media to reflect on the deleterious effect of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation before, during and after the polls.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the president pledged: “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.”