Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has recommitted to freedom of the press, and urged media professionals to wield freedom responsibly, without licentiousness.
President Buhari in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, the special Adviser on Media and Publicity, made this statement in Commemoration of the annual World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every May 3rd.
While celebrating the day with the media, he noted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, adding that freedom must, however, be used responsibly.
“That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now,” President Buhari said. “The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, anything that would exacerbate the situation, and further inflame passions and emotions, should be avoided.
He further stated that the media needs to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, it does not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity.”
Licentious freedom, the President said, is different from freedom with responsibility, and charges the Nigerian media to embrace the latter, rather than the former.
President Buhari pledged the government’s greater cooperation with the media to discharge its duties, in line with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ‘Information as a Public Good.’
He charged those who manage information for government to do everything in public interest, while also encouraging the media to use the Freedom of Information Act available to make its jobs easier.
The President submitted that it is very vital to have access to reliable information in an era of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, all to cause discord in society.