President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called on media practitioners to be fair in their reportage of him, charging them to journalists should be mindful of fairness, justice, and national interest at all times.
He stated that while he would provide an unfettered environment for Nigerian journalists to do their work, they should note that responsibility is reciprocal.
The President stated this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day which is observed on May 3 of every year.
Speaking on this year’s theme, “Keeping Power In Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law,” he re-affirmed 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,” Buhari said.
While pointing out that a positively critical media is vital to national development and the growth of the nation’s democracy, the President warned the irresponsible use of the media will only generate unwarranted tension in a plural society like Nigeria.
He 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 how some countries have been thrown into a tailspin by irresponsible use of the media.
“We have no other country than Nigeria, and what we make of it is what we get.”
The President also called for caution among journalists as the nation approaches the next general elections, enjoining them to be fair to all, irrespective of who is involved.
“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,” he said.