By Deji Elumoye, Alex Enumah, Udora Orizu
The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF); Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, have hailed journalists on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, which was observed yesterday.
In its message issued by its Communications Officer, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, GJF called on governments and citizens to respect the rights of journalists and ensure their safety as the world marks this year’s world press freedom day.
The Foundation in the statement to commemorate the day, stated that journalists play a key role in democratic sustainability and nation-building, therefore should be treated with dignity and honour by all.
“ On World Press Freedom Day 2020, we encourage governments and citizens to appreciate the contributions of journalists to global peace and development, respect their rights and ensure their safety, especially now that they find themselves on the frontlines of battling the novel coronavirus disease,” the statement explained.
On his part, Lawan lauded the contribution of Nigerian journalists to struggle for justice in the country.
Lawan noted that the day is specially set aside to highlight the heroic contributions of journalists to human struggle for justice, peace and development.
According to him, Nigerian journalists in particular should be proud of their frontline roles they play in nation-building and entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.
Lawan assured the stakeholders in the Journalism profession in Nigeria of the support of the Ninth National Assembly for the advancement and practice of their noble profession.
The Senate President said the theme for this year’s celebration: “Journalism without fear or favour” is quite relevant in the light of the challenges facing the profession and the entire world.
Lawan said the advent of the social media poses a challenge to the traditional media but which they can turn into an advantage by sticking to their training and the ethics of the profession.
In his message, Malami commended the Nigerian media for its developmental role and sustenance of democracy through their numerous reports.
In a statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Dr. Umar Gwandu, the minister also urged journalists to avoid the spread of fake news in the discharge of their lawful duties.
“Malami salutes the courageous support and efforts of Nigerian journalists in upholding the rule of law, enhancing the fight against corruption and protecting the tenets of democratic principles in the country.
“He urges journalists to continue to uphold the ethics and virtues of their profession and guard against “infodemic” of spreading fake news, misinformation and distorted facts, especially in this period of COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
Gbajabiamila has also lauded what he described as the doggedness of the Nigerian media in reporting and helping in finding solutions to the challenges facing the country over the years.
The Speaker, in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, also said no country would thrive if the media spreads falsehood.
He appealed to the Nigerian media to rise to the challenge of fake news, especially as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic, saying such news would not do the country any good.