In his celebratory message to Nigerian journalists as they mark the 2019 World Press Freedom Day, President Muhammadu Buhari has told journalists they can become part of Nigeria’s problems if they do not stick to the ethics of their profession.
The World Press Freedom Day is observed every May 3 to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world, defend media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
In a statement released by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, Buhari urged Nigerian journalists to use the day to appraise and recommit themselves to the ethics that guide “their noble profession”.
“Without adherence to ethics, professions turn awry, and become part of national malaise, rather than solutions,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
“That is why journalists must constantly recommit to the canons of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and other ideals that guide their profession.
“On this occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I urge you to rededicate yourselves to the role of being watchdogs of society, while being mindful of the cohesion and equilibrium of that same society.
“There are always those who want to use the media to emphasize our fault lines as a people, dwell on primordial sentiments, and keep the country perpetually on the same spot. Be wary of such.”
Buhari noted that the theme of the year’s celebration tagged “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” is quite relevant as the country recently concluded its general election.
He enjoined the media to reflect on the damaging effect of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after the polls while affirming the government’s commitment to ensuring that the media is not muzzled in any way “since democracy and freedom of expression were kindred spirits”.
“Our administration is committed to the highest levels of transparency, and we will guarantee press freedom at all times,” the president added.
“We only require that the freedom be used responsibly, and for lofty ideals of national unity and development.”
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