… salutes journalistsâ€™ courage, says no alternative to Free Press
…OBSERVER, EBS up for revamp
The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has charged journalists to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession to deepen good governance and fast-track the nationâ€™s advancement.
Obaseki who gave the charge on the occasion of the United Nationâ€™s World Press Freedom Day, celebrated on May 3, each year, noted that â€œa free, uninhibited and independent press is a major pillar for the sustenance of democracy, good governance and economic advancement.â€
He commended the display of courage by journalists who daily challenge oppressive governments, obnoxious policies and impunity by political actors, and explained â€œthat the worldâ€™s history is replete with inspiring stories on the doggedness of journalists, who published objective reports in defense of truth, that changed the course of history for the better, even at great personal cost.â€
â€œIn Nigeria, the struggle for independence from the colonial masters was led largely by journalists and sustained by their fiery articles. Media practitioners were in the fore-front to oust the military from the countryâ€™s political space and enthroneÂ democratic governance with such values as; the Rule of Law, free and fair elections, accountability of the government to the people, independent judiciary, tolerance of opposition views and multi-party system, which we all enjoy today,â€ he said.
He added that â€œthe recent global outcry over the activities of human traffickers and modern slave masters by the horrifying report of the international media outfit, the Cable News Network (CNN), on illegal migration by Africans, exposed the frightening scale of the inhuman activity.â€
According to the governor, â€œmedia practitioners will do more to advance the quality of governance if they uphold the ethics of the profession, leverage on the power of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and strive for more independence in carrying out their task as the societyâ€™s watch- dog and members of the exalted forth estate of the realm of governance.â€
He assured that his administration is set to commence the revamp of the state-owned media enterprises; Edo Broadcasting Service Radio and Television and the Observer Newspapers, to strengthen the media platforms for people in the state to express themselves and contribute to the development discourse.
â€œTheÂ United Nations General AssemblyÂ declaredÂ May 3Â to beÂ World Press Freedom DayÂ to raise awareness of the importance ofÂ freedom of the pressÂ and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right toÂ freedom of expressionÂ enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948Â Universal Declaration of Human RightsÂ and marking the anniversary of theÂ Windhoek Declaration,Â a statement ofÂ free pressÂ principles put together byÂ AfricanÂ newspaper journalists inÂ WindhoekÂ in 1991,â€ the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) said.
The global body organises a series of activities to markÂ World Press Freedom Day, including â€œthe conferment of theÂ UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom PrizeÂ on a deserving individual, organisation or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.â€