By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has counseled journalists in the country to reflect on the effect of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after the nation’s general elections.
The President in a statement made available to newsmen Thursday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, where he joined journalists in the country to mark the World Press Freedom Day, also assured of the freedom of the press in the country.
The President cautioned journalists to beware of those people who would always want to use the media to emphasize the nation’s fault-lines, dwell on primordial sentiments, and keep the country perpetually on the same spot.
He said “Without adherence to ethics, professions turn awry, and become part of national malaise, rather than solutions. That is why journalists must constantly recommit to the canons of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and other ideals that guide their profession.”
He added “On this occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I urge you to rededicate yourselves to the role of being watchdogs of society, while being mindful of the cohesion and equilibrium of that same society.
There are always those who want to use the media to emphasize our fault lines as a people, dwell on primordial sentiments, and keep the country perpetually on the same spot. Be wary of such.”
The President noted that the theme of this year’s celebration, Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation, is quite germane for Nigeria, having recently concluded the general elections, and urges the media to reflect on the deleterious effect of fake news, misinformation and disinformation before, during and after the polls.
Buhari affirmed that government would continue to ensure that the media was not muzzled in any way, since democracy and freedom of expression were kindred spirits.
“Our administration is committed to the highest levels of transparency, and we will guarantee press freedom at all times. We only require that the freedom be used responsibly, and for lofty ideals of national unity and development,” the President asserts.
Observed every May 3 to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom round the world, defend media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession, the President urged Nigerian journalists to use the day to appraise and recommit themselves to the ethics that guide their noble profession.