President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed not to trample on the freedom of the media for being critical of his administration.
While opening the 5th Triennial National Conference of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, held in Abuja at the weekend, Buhari charged journalists to uphold the ethics of the profession.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President urged the media and his government to be partners in progress.
He charged journalists to partner with his administration in building and developing Nigeria, stressing that the era of adversarial journalism should be conclusively over.
The President assured the media that his administration would uphold press freedom because it is only the freedom of information that can guarantee transparency and accountability in the country.
He asked for the support of the media for delivering his duties which, according to him, is enormous.
Adesina said: “He (Buhari) asked me to stress that he looks forward to a body of journalists that is partnering with government, he feels the era in which government and the media are adversaries should be conclusively over.
“There was a time in this country when the more of adversarial journalism you practice, the better you did, he believes in this era, we don’t need that again, we should be partners, that does not mean the media cannot be critical of government, they can and they should when necessary but then they should see themselves as partners in building and developing our country.
“He (President) said I should assure you that under his watch, press freedom would be upheld, that if our democracy would grow, there must be freedom of information to promote transparency and accountability in government and that he has pledge himself to transparency and accountability and he remains committed to it.
“Mr President billed me to tell you that the work ahead is enormous, to lay a new foundation for our country and to build and enduring structure on it, is a lot of work and he s asking for the support of the media in doing this enormous work and arduous task.”
In his remarks, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, identified technological advancement and advent of citizen journalism as a serious challenge to the practice of journalism in the world.
With technology, the Speaker said the opportunities for correction have reduced and as such the media should be careful of discharging their duties.
According to the Dogara, legislation is lagging behind technology in the world, adding that his leadership of the green chamber would partner with NUJ at ensuring responsible journalism.
“The technology age has introduced further complications and stress on the journalism profession. Advancement in technology has changes the media, it’s impact is now word wide and instantaneous.
“People no longer have to wait for specific hours when news items are read up to them or newspapers is delivered the convergence of the media namely the publishing of text and streaming of audio and video on one platform means we need to be careful in discharging our responsibilities as journalists, our reports build or destroy.
“Journalists have in their hands, weapon that are stronger in some times bigger and more effective than conventional bombs.
“The opportunity for correction has reduced and the use of handheld devices means literary millions of people have instant access to what we write or broadcast and balance information, falsehood or incomplete information could therefore create havoc and confusion of an unprecedented proportion.
“I challenge NUJ to rise to the challenge of ensuring the culture of impunity of libellous publication does not overrun the practice of journalism in our dear country.
“The current situation has been aggravated by the emergence of citizen journalism which deviates from the procedure and processes of regular media houses, it has created the new order of publishers’ rights as a reporter who writes, edit by themselves and publish whatever they fancy,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has congratulated Mr. Abdulwaheed Odusile of The Nation Newspapers on his election as the new President of NUJ.
President Buhari, in a press statement signed by his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, expressed the belief that “with his worthy credentials, long experience and antecedents as a highly respected and reputable professional, Odusile can be expected to discharge his new responsibility of leading the NUJ to greater heights of accomplishment with distinction.”
“The President assures Odusile and the newly elected executive officers of the NUJ of the fullest support and cooperation of the Federal Government as they move to reposition and revitalise the journalism profession in Nigeria for present and future challenges, including the revolutionary impact of new technologies on communications and information dissemination.
“President Buhari further assures the new NUJ President and all journalists in Nigeria that his administration will consistently uphold their right to perform their constitutionally assigned role in society without hindrance,” the statement read in part.

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