I congratulate all journalists in Nigeria in particular and all around the world, as the world marks the 2018 World Press Freedom Day with the theme ‘Keeping Power In Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,”
Nigerian journalists however deserve special commendation for their resilience, in the face of dwindling fortunes, increasing risks to their lives in the course of their duties, and rising opposition to freedom of expression.
The media, not just in Nigeria, is facing hard times as a result of economic downturns, and the inevitable rise of the social media. It is therefore necessary to maintain the ethics and values, particularly of objectivity and fact checking, that has made the Nigeria media indispensable.
It is also sad that journalists continue to have to carry out their duties at great risks to their lives and safety. Journalists, particularly under the current administration which promised a now obviously deceptive change, continue to face harassment by security agencies, in the discharge of their constitutional duties. From the mainstream media, to online media, reporters have been detained without charge, some prosecuted by security agencies, for simply doing their jobs.
This development must be condemned by every person with an iota of love and patriotism, because without a free press, the country is doomed.
The All Progressives Congress led administration, despite its utterances, has showed serious intolerance for any form of criticism, a major component of the right to expression. Any person who holds a dissenting view, to any action or conduct of the government, is tagged an enemy of the state.
As we approach the 2019 general elections, I call on the government to allow the media play its constitutionally guaranteed role as the watchdog of the society. I also urged the media to remain objective in its reporting, bearing in mind that we must all contribute to the survival of our democracy.
Happy World Press Freedom Day Celebrations 2018.
REP. O. K. CHINDA
(Obio/Akpor Federal Constituency).