Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
As the media observe World Press Freedom Day today, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged an unfettered environment for the media to do their work, but tasked them on fairness.
Buhari who pledged non-interference in their operations, said this decision should be reciprocal as he tasked journalists to be mindful of the principles of fairness, justice, and national interest at all times.
According to his media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari reflected on this yearâ€™s theme: â€œKeeping Power In Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,â€ and re-affirmed commitment to an atmosphere in which the media are free from harassment or any form of attacks in the exercise of the profession, within the ambit of the law.
â€œThe media can count on us to keep our words, but we also want to be fairly reported. The media should hold ethics of the noble profession sacrosanct, and be wary of those bent on causing disaffection in the country,â€ Buhari was quoted.
Stressing that positively critical media are vital to national development, and the growth of democracy, the president submits that media that cavil will only generate unwarranted tension in a plural society like Nigeria.
â€œThe world is in the throes of animosities generated by fake news and hate speech, often spawned by some media, particularly the digital variant called social media.
â€œOn this World Press Freedom Day, those involved in the negative antics should reflect, and ponder on how some countries have been thrown into tailspin by irresponsible use of the media. We have no other country than Nigeria, and what we make of it is what we get.
â€œAs we approach general elections next year, let our journalists resolve to report the process fairly and without bias, irrespective of who is involved. That would be the very essence of World Press Freedom Day,â€ the president was quoted.