Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has promised to uphold the tenet of free speech as Nigerian journalists celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Ola Awoniyi, in Abuja on Sunday, Lawan said that May 3 was set aside every year to remind governments around the world of their obligation to facilitate and respect press freedom.
He said the commemoration of the day was also to remind journalists of the need to respect the ethics of their profession.
Lawan said he was proud that Nigeria has vibrant media that have always resolutely defended freedom of speech.
The Senate president said that freedom of the press enables journalists to effectively discharge their roles as the watchdog of the society and Fourth Estate of the Realm.
“I also celebrate the Nigerian journalists for the invaluable contributions and sacrifices that they have made throughout our national history to nation-building and entrenchment of democracy.
“I pay tribute to the patriots who have lost their lives in the line of duty and pray that their death will not be in vain.
“The Ninth Senate and the National Assembly in general will never pass any law that inhibits the freedom of the press but rather work with the media to further enhance the practice of the profession.
“It is in this light that I call on the practitioners to purge their noble profession of the bad eggs whose nefarious activities are denting the credibility and reputation of the mainstream practitioners.
“The leadership organs of the profession also need to adopt practical measures to check the activities of the purveyors of fake news.
“My belief is that the menace of fake news is capable of eroding the integrity and credibility of the media in general, and this should not be allowed to happen,” Lawan said.
The Senate President wished the media a happy celebration.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom.
It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of a story.
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