By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has advocated that more freedom be granted to the media to enable them perform their professional duties.
Governor Bello said this was because “the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria is essentially dependent on the level of freedom of the press”.
The governor, who stated this in Minna in a statement to commemorate the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, said: “Freedom of speech and information are fundamental rights of individuals and cannot be trampled upon.”
In the statement signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Malam Jibrin Baba Ndace, the governor also affirmed that the “freedom of the press is not negotiable in any civilised society”.
â€Ž”The governor appreciates the efforts and contributions of the press to national development,” he said, adding that: “The country’s struggles before and after independence as well as during the military era wouldn’t have been successful without the patriotic support of the press.”
In a similar development, the Niger State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has said that â€Žfor democracy to thrive and serve the purpose of participatory governance, the media should at all times be allowed independently to promote transparency in the political process and leadership to the extent that people charged with responsibility of governance would be held accountable.
In the statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Alhaji Abdul Idris, and Secretary, Malam Abu Nmadu, journalists in the state were committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in political leadership in line with the of ethics of the profession.
According to the union, “Niger State like any developing society had its peculiar and contemporary challenges of ensuring press freedom” but added that “the challenges are surmountable with constant engagements to make the people in position of authority understand the importance of the media.â€Ž
“The independence and media literacy of the populace about the political and judicial system, through the accountability of state institutions to the public has been the guiding principle of the practising journalists in the state.”