Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged politicians and public office holders not to gag the media, saying press freedom remains important in a democracy.
He made the appeal, yesterday, at a workshop organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), themed: “Journalist and digitalisation: the imperative of good corporate governance” at Ikeja, Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu, who was Special Guest of Honour, said ensuring good corporate governance and self-regulation of the digital space would completely eradicate false and fake news.
He assured that his administration will continue to promote press freedom, good corporate governance as well as enabling environment for journalists in the state. He urged media practitioners to regulate their activities in the digital space.
“I stand with you (media practitioners) in solidarity to say that, indeed, your profession is not just a noble one, but it’s the one that gives the general public an independent assessment, holding our governance and government accountable at all times. And so, we need to be very careful as politicians and public officers that we do not gag this profession (media) and do not unduly stifle free press.
“Our government understands and appreciates that press freedom is the way in which we can hold government accountable. But it is also the responsibility of all of us here to ensure that we understand the thin line; and also self-regulate our activities.”
President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Issa, said the media would not succumb to pressure from the government to determine the people’s right to information.
He said the situation where the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) that reports to the Minister of Information would also be the one to unilaterally impose fines on broadcast stations for unfavourable reports was tantamount to gagging the media. The NGE President, who urged media owners to embrace good corporate governance and accountability, said the role of scrutiny of the media should not be that of the government alone, adding that the media should not be threatened.