The Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria (GPBN) berates the sad state of media freedom worldwide.
In a recent statement,the Guild cites the countless numbers of attacks, killings, closure of outlets and shutting down of media platforms in recent times as evidence of the sad sate of affairs.
It calls for an urgent need to protect journalism and press freedom as they contribute immensely to the efficient function of democratic systems.
because freedom of the media is extremely important for its efficient functioning.
The National President of GPBN Adrian Egonu, stated this in his message today, May 3rd to Journalists and bloggers to mark the World Press Freedom Day.
He noted that the society must see journalists as watchdogs and agents of change, whose commitment to press freedom must be respected and supported.
In consideration of the critical role that journalism, and by extension, bloggers play in the protection and advancement of democracies worldwide,practitioners should be helped to feel safe as they discharge their duties for the common good.
He stressed that the constitutional role of journalists, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is to hold government accountable to the people. “Journalists are the oxygen of democracy”, he said.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right and the press plays an important role in informing the public about the happenings in their country and around the world’.
World Press Freedom Day was introduced by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993; following the recommendation of a UNESCO’s General Conference. Since then, 3rd May, the anniversary of the Declaration at Windhoek,is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
‘It is a day for activities and discussions designed to promote press freedom, as well as to assess the state of press freedom in the world.
It is a day for raising awareness, a day for encouraging debate among media professionals, and a commemoration of all the journalists who have lost their lives while doing their job.
This year’s theme “Journalism under digital siege,” highlights the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance, and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists,
The consequences of all these on public trust in digital communications on freedom of the press, the security of journalists and access to information.
The day acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom. It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
Journalists in Nigeria, he said deserve to be treated better, having fought hard to achieve the current democratic status in the country. Sadly today, many of these journalists are struggling with poor salaries, challenges in conditions of service, censorship, harassment intimidation and assassinations.
Despite the foregoing, press freedom should be encouraged all over the world as the benefits to all will be for the best of humanity.
Adrian Egonu Femi Adeoya