President Muhammadu Buhari has urged media professionals to wield freedom responsibly, and without licentiousness.
President Buhari made the admonition in his goodwill message to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, admonishing that while it continues to carry out its traditional duties, the media must not give room to comments and feelings that are intended to hurt the nation’s unity.
President Buhari in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President noted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, adding that freedom must, however, be used responsibly.
President noted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, adding that freedom must, however, be used responsibly.
According to him, “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”.
Licentious freedom, the President said, is different from freedom with responsibility, and counselled the Nigerian media to embrace the latter, rather than the former.
On the part of the government, President Buhari pledged 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 urged those who manage information for government to do everything in the public interest, while also encouraging the media to use the Freedom of Information Act available to make its jobs easier.
The President submits 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.