Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN saturday hailed the Nigerian media for their contributions to the development of the Nigerian society.
He said â€œthe democracy we enjoy today would not have been possible without the guerrilla efforts of some of our finest and most irrepressible journalists.â€
The vice president, according to a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, made the remarks in Lagos at a forum tagged: â€˜Media Renewal in Nigeria,â€™ organised to mark the 50th birthday of broadcaster, Kadaria Ahmed.
Osinbajo who commended the invaluable contributions of journalists to the growth of Nigeria from the colonial days through the military era to the current democratic dispensation, said â€œthe Nigerian press is and has always been one of the most vibrant in the world.â€
He added: â€œYou can always take it for granted that no matter the intensity of the clampdown on press freedom in Nigeria, there will always be a prominent group of journalists who will refuse to be cowed, and will seize every tool at their disposal to hold the authorities to account. â€œThis will be as through a century from today as it was in the 1990s. Indeed, the democracy we enjoy today would not have been possible without the guerrilla efforts of some of our finest and most irrepressible journalists.â€
Commenting on the current administrationâ€™s recognition of the mediaâ€™s role in society and contributions to the advancement of media practice, Osinbajo said â€œthere is probably now greater access to information and freedom of expression than ever before in our history.â€
According to the statement, Osinbajo observed that in view of contemporary challenges in the country coupled with innovations in technology, â€œinfluencers must set bigger targets,â€ in order to keep emphasising the mediaâ€™s positive impact on society. He also said â€œa return to basic principles and the re-discovering of an understanding of mediaâ€™s place in society, among othersâ€ would be critical to repositioning media practice in Nigeria. â€œWe are at a point where outrage at wrongdoing is severely low. The press as crusaders for justice or against corruption seems like a vintage matter. The Nigerian press has had to deal with the same circumstances that have undermined virtually every institution in the country in the last few decades.
â€œIf faith in the media appears to be at an all-time low, it is because public faith in all institutions is very likely at an all-time low. Politics and politicians are probably even worse off. So, as always, context is necessary, especially in these troubled times.
â€œEvery institution is infected. In some senses, the judiciary and the press have similar functions, the outcomes of courts of justice and the court of public opinion, depends on who presides. It is possible for the corruption trial of the affluent politician to be kept almost completely out of the press,â€ he was further quoted as saying.