Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has tasked journalists on framing their reports to promote non-violent resolution of conflicts and other pressing societal issues, noting that such approach to their duties will drive sustainable development in developing countries.
The governor also cautioned against peddling of fake news, urging media practitioners to close ranks to fight the menace to restore confidence and professionalism in their trade.
Obaseki said this in commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day, marked every May 3, by the United Nations and other sister organs.
He also assured that the revamp of the state-owned media organisations, including The Nigerian Observer and Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS), is ongoing, with the initial operational change yielding impressive results.
According to him, “As we mark the World Press Freedom Day, I want to call on journalists to uphold their constitutional duty of speaking truth to power and holding leaders accountable for their actions. But in doing this, they should also uphold the tenets of peace journalism, which gives the people the power to consider and opt for non-violent means to resolve conflicts.
“With Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation as this year’s theme for the commemoration, I also use this opportunity to appreciate the Nigerian press for their socially-responsible conduct during the 2019 general elections and how they fought disinformation and fake news while the polls lasted.”
Obaseki assured that he would always uphold the tenents of free press and ensure a safe environment for journalists to inform, educate and entertain Edo people, adding, “As a government that thrives on transparency and accountability to the people, we will ensure a safe space for journalists to ply their trade and live up to their constitutional role in a democracy. The revamp of EBS and the Nigerian Observer will ensure efficient dissemination of information in the state, positioning the state as a media hub.”
According to the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, “A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights. No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”