SWITZERLAND, MAY 02
In a build-up to the World Press Freedom Day celebrated every May 3, President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday, sent a message to the Nigerian media recognising the vital role that it plays in the wellbeing of the society.
In a statement to the media signed by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President reiterated the commendation he extended to the Nigerian media in his last two broadcasts, applauding the good work they have done, and are still doing in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“We cannot overemphasize the role of the media in keeping people informed and educated on the pernicious virus, which has no friend or foe. It simply seeks to mow down anyone and everyone in its path, and public awareness is very important, lest we become like sitting ducks. The media are doing this quite effectively,” the President said.
He applauded the role the Nigerian media have played thus far, and charged them to continue, “till we get to safe harbour, when the world and our country are finally free of this greatest health challenge in recent history.”
Reflecting on the theme of the World Press Freedom Day 2020, ‘Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation,’ President Buhari opined that Nigeria has a very unhealthy dose of disinformation, fake news, hate news, purveyed by people who use media platforms, particularly the digital variant.
According to him, “They don’t mean well for us, and no country can afford to close its eyes to the evil disinformation can cause. In a plural polity like ours, it has the potential to rupture relationships, sow seeds of discord, and set us on the path of destabilisation”.
”When fake and hate news are aided unabashedly, it can only signpost doom. I urge the Press to use the occasion of World Press Freedom Day to see how this can be vigorously tackled.”
On the part of the government, the President pledged a recommitment to the ideals of freedom of the press, noting that democracy thrives better in an atmosphere of transparency, as opposed to opacity.
“We appreciate the cooperation we have enjoyed from the media in tackling the Coronavirus, and look forward to the same, post-COVID-19 when all hands must be on deck to repair the damages done to our economic and social lives, “ President Buhari affirmed.