President Muhammadu Buhari has reaffirmed his commitment to press freedom this is coming with issuing a stern warning to Nigeria media.
He did warn the Nigeria media, however, to use freedom professionally and without licentiousness.
Buhari spoke on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which is celebrated every May 3 around the world.
Although congratulating the media on the historic day, the President stated that press freedom is an unavoidable requirement for a healthy society, but that it must be exercised responsibly.
“Just because anything is permitted does not mean there are no rules of correctness,” President Buhari says, particularly in a polity as troubled as Nigeria’s.
“The media must be responsive to what our nation is going through, and something that might escalate the crisis and inflame passions and feelings should be avoided.
“While informing, educating, entertaining, and setting the agenda for public debate, the media must ensure that incendiary words and acts do not further damage our unity in diversity,” he says.
The President differentiated between licentious freedom and freedom with accountability, and urged Nigerian journalists to accept the latter rather than the former.
In line with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ‘Information as a Public Good,’ President Buhari promised greater government cooperation with the media in carrying out its responsibilities.
He urged those in charge of government records to act in the public interest at all times, and he urged the media to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to make their work easier.
In an age of misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech, the President argued that having access to accurate information is critical.