President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday pledged an unfettered environment for the media to do its work, saying while journalists in the country are free to criticise him they must be fair and mindful of national interest, in doing so.
Buhari who stated this on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day observed every May 3, noted that responsibility is reciprocal, and journalists should be wary of fairness, justice and national interest at all times.
Reflecting on this year's theme, 'Power In Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law", the president, in a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, re-affirmed his commitment to an atmosphere in which the media is free from harassment or any form of attack in the exercise of the profession within the ambit of the law. "The media can count on us to keep our words, but we also want to be fairly reported. The media should hold ethics of the noble profession sacrosanct, and be wary of those bent on causing disaffection in the country," President Buhari said.
Stressing that a positively critical media is vital to national development and the growth of our democracy, the president stated that a media that cavils would only generate unwarranted tension in a plural society like ours. Urging journalists to be fair in their reports, Buhari said, "The world is in the throes of animosities generated by fake news and hate speech, often spawned by some media, particularly the digital variant called social media. On this World Press Freedom Day, those involved in the negative antics should reflect, and ponder on how some countries have been thrown into tailspin by irresponsible use of the media. We have no other country than Nigeria, and what we make of it is what we get"."As we approach general elections next year, let our journalists resolve to report the process fairly and without bias, irrespective of who is involved. That would be the very essence of World Press Freedom Day".