President Muhammadu Buhari has asked media professionals in Nigeria to be wary of publishing news items that are capable of aggravating the bad situation in the country.
He said that the fact that his government had not been complaining over many infractions capable of dividing the country does not mean acceptance.
“That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now.”
President Buhari, in a message to mark the World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every May 3, said: “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.”
The President insisted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, and that freedom must be used responsibly.
According to him, licentious freedom is different from freedom with responsibility and charged the Nigerian media to embrace the latter, rather than the former.
President Buhari pledged greater cooperation 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 asked those who manage information for government to do everything in public interest, even as he encouraging the media to use the Freedom of Information Act available to make its jobs easier.
President Buhari said that it is very vital to have access to reliable information in an era of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, all to cause discord in society.