President Muhammadu Buhari has encouraged the media to exercise caution when it comes to sponsored political news or publications that have the potential to incite hate, division, bloodshed, and instability in the country in the run-up to the elections.
He made the appeal Monday in a statement commemorating World Press Freedom Day, which is marked annually on May 3.
He urged Nigerian journalists to utilise World Press Freedom Day to reflect on the need of adhering to the highest professional standards and procedures, particularly in the run-up to the next general elections.
Buhari stated that the free exercise of media duties and responsibilities during the electoral process was just as critical as the sanctity and will of Nigerians as expressed via the ballot box.
He also asked the media to work with the electoral umpire and other stakeholders to ensure that Nigerians have free, fair, credible, and transparent elections.
“We must remain unified in our support for journalists who work tirelessly to de-escalate violent conflict and promote peaceful societies without jeopardising our obligation to report,” he added.
He asked government information managers to guarantee that the press and general public had unhindered access to official data and numbers.
Buhari lauded the courage and resolve of people who go above and beyond on a daily basis, often at considerable personal danger, to keep the public informed.
He reaffirmed the Federal Government’s dedication to journalistic freedom.
He stated that government agencies will always oppose acts that may jeopardise the constitutionally given press freedom, in keeping with the topic of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Journalism under digital assault.”
He stated that the Federal Government was committed to assisting Nigerian media companies by improving internet access to neglected populations and achieving 95 percent digital literacy by 2030.