The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has charged journalists to use the power of the pen in ensuring peace, unity and development of the country amid various challenges facing the nation.
The governor gave the charge in commemoration of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, marked by the United Nations and other sister agencies with the theme, “Information as a Public Good.”
Obaseki said journalists being the mirror of the society must discharge their duties diligently, upholding the ethics of the profession and providing only reliable, fact-based and accurate information to the public.
According to him, “As we mark the World Press Freedom Day, I want to urge media practitioners to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession, leverage on the power of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and ensure they provide the public with fact-based, verified and credible information.
“Amid the many challenges currently facing the country, it is pertinent that the media as the watchdog of the society and members of the exalted fourth estate of realm, in the best interest of all Nigerians, use the pen to unite the people, focusing on contents and reportage that fosters unity, peace and development.”
He further tasked journalists on framing their reports to promote non-violent resolution of conflicts and other pressing societal issues, noting that such an approach to their duties will drive sustainable development.
“As a government that thrives on transparency and accountability to the people, we will ensure a safe space for journalists to thrive and live up to their constitutional role in a democracy,” the governor reassured.
The UN General Assembly in 1993 proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in 1991. It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.
According to the UN, “The theme ‘Information as a Public Good’ serves as a call to renew the global commitment to freedom of expression, press freedom, and freedom of information, while acknowledging the new economic challenges faced by the media sector, the gate-keeping role of internet companies and their need for greater transparency, as well as the strong need for Media and Information Literacy capacities to be strengthened worldwide.”