My administration will ensure free, robust media – Tinubu assures Guild of Editors

President Bola Tinubu has promised the Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, that he has no intention to stifle the press.

The President gave the assurance on Wednesday while declaring open the 2023 Nigeria Guild of Editors conference with the theme: ‘Stimulating Economic Growth, Technology: Role of the Media’, in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Represented by Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, Tinubu also urged the Editors to tackle the issue of fake news and misinformation through fact checking, responsible reporting and digital literacy even as he tasked them on operating within the framework of the ethics of journalism with utmost sense of duty and patriotism.

The President, however, regretted that Nigeria is bedevilled with issues of of misinformation and false narratives, which, according to him, had threatened the fabric of the society.

He noted that it required a collective effort to combat the menace.

Tinubu said, “Let me restate the commitment of our administration to a free and robust media without any intention to stifle press freedom.

“But we will expect you to operate within the framework of the ethics of journalism and to conduct your activities with utmost sense of duty, patriotism and growth.

“As you are aware, we are faced with the proliferation of misinformation, disinformation and false narratives which threaten the fabric of our society, and it is our collective duty to combat this menace. Through fact-fact checking, responsible reporting, promoting media and digital literacy, we can fortify our defenses against the corrosive effects of fake news.”

He also announced that the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation (FMINO) is working to ensure the implementation of a sustained mass reorientation campaign that would foster unity and patriotism among Nigerians.

In his remarks, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, commended the media for its role in working to ensure justice, equity and unity in Nigeria as well as economic development.

While noting that he was not asking for a pliant press, the governor urged the media to engender a new template of reportage which would be development oriented.

He said, “No one desires a pliant media that act like the cheer-leaders to the government, but in trying to break the news, we should be careful not to break the fabric of the society. You need the nation first in order to freely practice your profession.

“If there is the constant drib-drib of negative reportage, where the challenges of the process of our nation-building are overly magnified and our symbols of authority, randomly demonized and our potentials routinely talked down on, in spite of how large such a market may be, foreign investors will be wary of coming into such a volatile environment.”

In his welcome address, the President, Nigeria Guild of Editors, Eze Anaba said the conference was part of Editors’ contributions to the growth and development of not only the media industry but the country in general.

Anaba tasked colleagues on balanced, accurate, factual and fair reports even as he implored them to make use of fact-checking tools in disseminating editorial products to the people, noting that it is the only effective and efficient way to discharge their constitutional duty under Section 22 of holding power to account and upholding human rights, the rule of law, good governance and democratic principles.

He also urged political actors not to suppress the press saying, “Always remember that a free press is like oxygen to a democracy. Let nothing be done to stifle the press or shrink freedom of expression and media freedom under any guise.”

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