Media Must Rise To The Challenge Of Fake News – Gbajabiamila

A file photo of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, speaking at a meeting in Abuja.

 

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has called on the media to rise to the challenge of fake news in Nigeria.

He believes this is important, especially as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic and fake news will not do the country any good.

Gbajabiamila made the call in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day.

He urged media practitioners to resist every temptation that would make them promote reportage that could be seen as anti-people.

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“The choice is ours: either to make our country great through good reportage and analysis of issues, or to allow fake news and, in many cases, flagrant falsehood to take over the space,” the speaker said.

He added, “At this age of social/online media, the onus is on the real journalists to make a difference. But I believe that the Nigerian media would not do anything that will take us backward.

“I also want to believe that media practitioners in the country are ever committed to seeing the country move forward.”

Gbajabiamila lauded the doggedness of the media in reporting and helping in finding solutions to the challenges facing Nigeria over the years.

He noted that although the Nigerian media has contributed a lot in stabilising the country, it would not be out of place to call on media practitioners to be more factual about their reportage of activities in the society with a view to promoting development.

Commenting on this year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day – ‘Journalism Without Fear or Favour,’ the speaker said no country would thrive if the media spreads falsehood.

He asked the media to support the government in its drive to make a meaningful impact in the country, as well as call the same government to order where necessary.

“We must show patriotism in our dealings as media men and women. We must fight fake news, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

“I also wish to pay tribute to journalists who have been working hard at the frontline of reporting this pandemic at great personal cost,” Gbajabiamila said.

We Cannot Deliver Good Governance Without A Free Press – Saraki

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A file photo of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

 

The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, says there is no way good governance can be delivered to the people without a free media environment that guarantees access to information.

He stated this at an event to commemorate the 2019 World Press Freedom Day which held on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Saraki, who was represented by the Senate Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda, highlighted the contribution of the press to the growth of the nation’s democracy.

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“We do appreciate that we cannot deliver good governance without a free press, and we are always available to work in tandem with the media to ensure a democratic society that serves us all,” he said.

The Senate President added, “Let me, therefore, assure you that the 8th Senate values the media as crucial partners in the quest to build a stronger and more vibrant democracy.”

He noted that the legislature has gone a long way towards opening up the National Assembly as an institution that belongs to the people.

The lawmaker listed some of the steps they have taken to include the use of social media to give live updates on plenary and committee meetings, as well as live-streams of proceedings in the Senate.

He stressed that the pen has proven to be as effective, if not mightier than the sword, attributing it to the power of words to plant, grow, shape and motivate ideas into action.

The Senate President believes in a country with a chequered post-independent democratic experience such as Nigeria, the notion of ‘press freedom’ must drastically evolve from something its people pay lip service to  into what must be practised, championed and protected at all costs.

According to him, the urgency of this is reflected in the nation’s ranking on the Global Press Freedom Index of 2019, where it is ranked 120 out of 180 countries.

Saraki said, “Clearly if we truly wish to grow and preserve our democracy, we must understand that a free and pluralistic media environment that guarantees access to information, is non-negotiable.

“When citizens have information, they are able to make informed choices due to the diversity of their viewpoints.”

“When we have such a society when citizens are not only well-informed but are free to express their valid opinions — without fear or prejudice — it is only then that we can truly say are practising true democracy,” he added.

Democracy, according to the Senate President, has its foundation in the freedom of the press, which in turn promotes good governance, accountability and respect for human rights.

He, however, said while the objectives may not be easy to achieve, the nation can agree that it can be done if it was determined to see it through.

Nigeria Falls On World Press Freedom Index

The 2017 World Press Freedom index has placed Nigeria at 122 out of 180 countries; down six places since last year.

The report was put together by non-governmental organization, Reporters Without Borders.

Although the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on May 28 2011, government institutions and officials regularly deny journalists information, and in some cases threaten them for investigating issues that are in the public interest.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, said via a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, that no society can grow without an active press to monitor and report its activities.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the National Assembly to continue to enact laws which will create a conducive environment for journalism to thrive in the country.

National celebrations take place each year to commemorate this day which was first proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO General Conference in 1991.

This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek declaration on media pluralism and independence.

Unbiased Justice System Will Solve Nigeria’s Economic Challenges – Fayose

Ayodele Fayose, Miyetti Allah, EkitiThe Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, beliefs that an unbiased justice system in Nigeria will solve that nation’s economic challenges.

Governor Fayose spoke at the 2016 Annual Lecture Series of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ekiti State Council held in Ado Ekiti, the capital of the State.

He predicted that the country might slide into depression in 2017 if nothing was done to revive the nation’s ailing economy.

The Governor, who is a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party accused the Federal Government of paying lip services to the resuscitation of the economy.

Mr Fayose has delivered different speeches on topical national issues at different lecture series organised by journalists.

First was in Ibadan, the Oyo State’s capital, during the 2016 World Press Freedom Day and now in Ekiti State he delivered a lecture entitled; “Journalism: Antidote to Economic Recession”.

Governor Fayose, who took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress-led government, said no tangible efforts had been made by the present administration to address the economic recession.

“The only solution to the nation’s economic woes is justice,” he reiterated.

The Governor, however, called on journalists to always uphold the ethics of their profession to save the nation’s democracy.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists Ekiti State Council, Laolu Omosilade, said the Nigeria union of journalists in Ekiti State remained the voice of the voiceless in the society, adding that journalists would always be objective in the profession.

The highpoint of the lecture series was the presentation of a birthday gift to the governor as he marks his 56th year.

Niger State Government Commits To Press Freedom

sani bello
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello

It is World Press Freedom Day and the Niger State government has reaffirmed its commitment to upholding and promoting press freedom.

The government says such freedom will enable it engage the people for open and transparent governance.

The Commissioner of Information, Tourism and Culture in the State, Mr Jonathan Vatsa, made the position of the government known in a statement issued on Tuesday to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

Mr Vatsa assured the media that the present administration in the state viewed press as the fourth estate of the realm, partner in lubricating participatory governance as well as ensuring accountability and fight against corruption to achieve development.

He stated that, the government was desirous to always promote freedom of expression as a way of allowing the people to contribute to the process of governance and leveraging on such expression to make correction when necessary for the overall development of the state.

The Commissioner said: “At this auspicious time of the World Press Freedom Day, the government of Niger State under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello is assuring all practicing journalists in Niger State the commitment of the government to providing the right avenue legally and genuinely possible to continue in discharge their duties”.

According to him, “just as Governor Bello has always said, our doors are always open to constructive criticism that will help to move our dear state forward. We will always advise our dear friends in the media to practice within the confines of the ethical codes that guide their profession”.

“Once again I congratulate the entire media practitioners in the state, Nigeria and world over on this World Press Freedom Day that is a General Assembly of United Nation declaration to promote freedom of expression”.

Ban Ki-moon Tasks Govt On Protection Of An Independent Press

ban ki-moonThe Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has again stressed the need for all governments, politicians Business and citizens to commit to nurturing and protecting an independent, free media.

Ban gave the task in his message on this year’s World Press Freedom Day, with the theme “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right!”.

He further stressed that without this fundamental right, people would be less free and less empowered.

“With it, we can work together for a world of dignity and opportunity for all,” the UN Secretary-General stressed.

“Watchdog”

A concept note by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said the World Press Freedom Day represented an opportunity to advance the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay solemn tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

This year’s theme promotes as always, freedom of information as a fundamental freedom and as a human right, protection of press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreach and ensuring safety for journalism online and offline.

According to UNESCO “press freedom and access to information are essential to democracy and to sustainable development.

“Sometimes referred to as a “watchdog” of political and societal institutions, journalism is also much more: it demonstrates freedom of expression for society at large, it puts new questions on the development agenda, and it empowers citizens with information.

“It provides a context in which the diversity of cultural expressions can flourish”.

Union Seeks Better Welfare For Journalists

pressOwners of media organisations in Nigeria have been asked to improve the welfare of their employees and also ensure there is a life insurance policy for them.

The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, made the appealed on Monday, as Nigeria joins other countries to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

The NUJ President also warned security agencies and politicians to stop further harassment and intimidation of journalists while performing their official functions.

Mr Garba was spoke to Channels Television on Monday during a seminar to mark the World Press Freedom Day in Kaduna themed “Let Journalism Thrive Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in Digital Age”.

He also lamented that many journalists in Nigeria had suffered one form of brutality or harassment in the hands of security agencies, politicians and individuals while discharging their constitutional duties.

The NUJ President extolled the contribution of journalists in deepening the nation’s democracy, but expressed sadness over government’s poor implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

During the last general elections in Nigeria, many Journalists were brutalised while covering campaign rallies and election.

Every year, May 3 is set aside as World Press Freedom Day. A date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and to defend the media from attacks on their independence, as well as paying tribute to Journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

The date serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while Journalists, Editors and Publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

Press Freedom: We Don’t Have A Democratic Govt – Journalist

The Chairman Editorial Board, Vanguard Newspapers, Ikeddy Isiguzo on Friday said that Nigeria does not have a democratic government.

He made this known  while lamenting the many challenges journalists face, carrying out their duties.

Isiguzo made the statement, speaking about journalism in Nigeria in relation to the 20th World Press Freedom Day, on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily.

He stated that “the world press day comes and goes in Nigeria because we think it is just a ceremony,” and opined that it should be a day of ‘sober reflections’.

In his opinion, Nigerian journalists should meditate on society’s willingness to use the media and the broad opportunities they provide for development instead of just looking for headlines.

Speaking about a report by Committee for the Protection of Journalist in which Nigeria, which mentioned Nigeria as one of the  countries where journalists are routinely murdered without their attackers being convicted.

Isiguzo stated that Nigerians have been deceived into thinking there would be press freedom under a democratic government. He implied that the current system of governance is no different from military rule.

“If we have democratic government there will be more robust debates in the media so it’s not a surprise we are on the list.” He said.

He added that the delay in passing the Freedom Of Information Bill into law is indicative of the government’s attitude towards fighting corruption.