From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has charged media professionals to be more responsive to Nigeria’s challenges, as they join their counterparts globally to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, on May 4.
In a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said 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.
‘The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, and anything that would exacerbate the situation, and further inflame passions and emotions, should be avoided. 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,’ the statement read.
The President added that ‘licentious freedom’ is different from freedom with responsibility, and urged the Nigerian media to embrace the latter, rather than the former.
President Buhari pledged his administration’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 noted 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.