President Muhammadu Buhari has rejoiced with the Nigerian media on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, observed every year on May 3.
In a message, the President recognized their role in strengthening democracy in the country.
“I salute the courage and determination of those who daily go the extra time, sometimes at great personal risks, to keep the society well informed.”
In fostering the pursuit of journalism in the country, President Buhari reiterated Nigerian government’s commitment to freedom of the press, pledging to continue ensuring the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the lawful performance of their professional duties.
He charged the Nigerian Press to use the World Press Freedom Day to reflect on the need to embrace the best professional standards and practices, especially in the build-up to the forthcoming general elections.
He noted that the free performance of media roles and responsibilities during the electoral process is as important as the sanctity and will of Nigerians, expressed through the ballot box.
With the elections in sight, the President urged the media to be mindful of sponsored political news or publications capable of inciting hatred, division, violence, and chaos in the country.
He also called on the electoral umpire and other stakeholders to play their roles in delivering free, fair, credible and transparent elections to Nigerians.
‘‘We must stay united in supporting media professionals who work hard to de-escalate violent conflict and promote peaceful societies without compromising the responsibility to report,’’ he said, urging government information managers to ensure that the press and the general public have access to facts and figures of government information, without tears.
In line with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, ”Journalism under digital siege,” President Buhari assured citizens that that government agencies under his watch would always stand against actions that are capable of limiting the preservation of the freedom of the Press guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to him, the Federal Government is working hard to support media organizations in Nigeria through the provision of better internet access to underserved communities and to achieve 95 per cent digital literacy by 2030.
On behalf of Nigerians, President Buhari thanks members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm whose diligent work helped in guaranteeing peace, stability, and progress in the country.