The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says Nigeria has a relatively free and vibrant press and urged media practitioners to remain vigilant to protect this freedom.
Entwistle spoke on Tuesday in Abuja in his remarks at a discourse to mark the 2016 World Press Freedom Day organised by the U.S. Embassy.
The envoy said that Nigeria has a relatively free and vibrant press, adding that “some concerns remain about the freedom of journalists to do their job.’’
He noted that Nigeria media performed well during the 2015 general election, adding that “despite the positive outcome, you must remain vigilant to protect this freedom,” he said.
While condemning a move by the senate through a sponsored bill to gag the social media, he however expressed pleasure that the presidency did not support the bill.
“In December 2015, we witnessed a public outcry to the senate’s bill on the “Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions,” an attempt to restrict social media.
“ We are pleased to hear from the current administration that the president does not support this bill,” he said.
The envoy pledged U.S. continuous support to strengthening Nigeria’s democratic institutions and enforcement of basic human rights by promoting freedom of information and of the press.
According to him, a free press is a core value of the U.S. because it is essential for democracy.
He said that an independent media helped satisfy the public’s need to know about events affecting their lives.
“Through a free media, people let their governments know their opinion on policies and actions.
“Dialogue between the government and the governed is most effective in an environment where all are free and safe to express their views,” he said. (NAN)