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President Muhammadu Buhari has urged journalists not to encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt Nigeria’s unity.
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the president, in a statement issued on Sunday by Femi Adesina, his spokesperson, said he’s recommitted to freedom of the press – the president urged media professionals to wield freedom responsibly, and without licentiousness.
He noted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, adding that freedom must, however, be used responsibly.
“That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now,” the statement reads in parts.
“The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, and anything that would exacerbate the situation, and further inflame passions and emotions, should be avoided.
“The media needs to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, it does not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity.”
There is always difficulty assessing information from government institutions, but the president pledged to cooperate with the media to discharge its duties, in line with the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, “Information as a Public Good.”
He charged those who manage information for government to do everything in public interest, while also encouraging the media to use the freedom on information (FoI) to make its jobs easier.
The president added that it is vital to have access to reliable information in an era of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech.