World Press Freedom Day: Anti-corruption War Needs Journalism

imageAs we join other nations to mark World Press Freedom Day today May 3, it once again affords us opportunity to reflect on the state of the media in our country, particularly post-2015 General Elections.
One of the key electoral promises of the incoming All Progressives Congress (APC) government is zero tolerance for corruption. And such battle needs a synergy between government and the media. If there is any time government should strengthen relationship with the media towards a healthy, progressive country, it is now.

A free press will accelerate national development, give fillip to the fight against corruption, and engender a better society. As once observed by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, “freedom of expression, independent media and universal access to knowledge will fortify our efforts to achieve lasting results for people and the planet.” No government can achieve lasting results without independent media.

For long, the fight against corruption in Nigeria has been sluggish, even half-hearted. At the break of a new dawn, we must go beyond rhetoric. The government that will emerge from May 29, 2015, must walk its talk on fighting corruption, and must take the media as an
Gone should be the era in which government views the media with suspicion, and takes journalists as adversaries. Now, we must begin to collaborate. Corruption is a big problem in Nigeria, and the anti-corruption battle needs journalism to shine the light on works of
darkness. It is instructive that theme for today’s World Press Freedom Day is “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, General Equality, & Media Safety in the Digital Age.” Journalism must thrive in Nigeria, if we must arrive at the peaceful shore we have
long envisaged.

The days in which journalists are harassed, intimidated, brutalized, jailed or even killed outright should belong to the past. A media under assault can only be to the nation’s detriment. Let us build a country in which the media works without intimidation or interference.

That is how meaningful change can be fostered, going beyond mere mantra or slogan.
At the threshold of a new dawn, there is a surfeit of hope in the land. We envisage a country where no man is oppressed, where the wealth and endowments of the land are used for the larger number of the people, where impunity becomes history, and where every known act
of corruption is swiftly punished.

Nigerian editors are resolved to be in the vanguard of all that is noble and decent, upholding the finest traditions of our calling. On this auspicious day, we rededicate ourselves to a land where probity and transparency hold sway, and one in which journalists do their work without let or hindrance.

Femi Adesina
Nigerian Guild of Editors

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