Ahmad Lawan, President of the Nigerian Senate, has felicitated with Nigerian journalists as they celebrate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, promising that the parliament will not allow President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to gag the press.
The Ninth Senate and the National Assembly, in general, will never pass any law that inhibits the freedom of the press but rather work with the media to further enhance the practice of the profession.
Lawan, in a statement by his media aide, Ola Awoniyi, in Abuja, said May 3 was set aside every year to remind governments around the world of their obligation to facilitate and respect press freedom.
In November 2019, there was an attempt to gag social media users through a bill, Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019, sponsored by Mohammed Musa in the Senate.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, in November, 2020, insisted on regulating social media, claiming that it would not gag the media.
The Senate President said:
I also celebrate the Nigerian journalists for the invaluable contributions and sacrifices that they have made throughout our national history to nation-building and entrenchment of democracy.
I pay tribute to the patriots who have lost their lives in the line of duty and pray that their death will not be in vain.
Lawan, however, called on the media “to purge their noble profession of the bad eggs.”
The leadership organs of the profession also need to adopt practical measures to check the activities of the purveyors of fake news.
My belief is that the menace of fake news is capable of eroding the integrity and credibility of the media in general, and this should not be allowed to happen.
May 3 acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about press freedom and professional ethics issues.
The World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for the media.
It is also a day of remembrance of journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty.