President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday made a solemn promise to media practitioners and members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists that he would stop at nothing to ensure the freedom of the press as enshrined in the country’s constitution was not tampered with.
He also refuted report in the media that he had sent a list of ministerial nominees to the State Security Service (SSS) for screening, saying such report was not only unfair, but also a trauma to the ministers and their families.
The President who made this vow when he declared open the Fourth Triennial National Delegates’ Conference of the NUJ in Abuja, maintained that as a firm believer in the rights of the media, he was ready to leave no stone unturned in creating an atmosphere in which journalists can discharge their duties without fear or intimidation.
“I am a firm believer in the right and obligation of the media as enshrined in our constitution. I assure you all today that under my leadership, journalists in our country will continue to fully enjoy their constitutional rights and freedom of expression”, he said.
But Jonathan who warned, however, that such freedom of the press must go with corresponding responsibility, implored the media to always put the nation first in their reporting.
Cautioning media houses against offering platforms to people with questionable character, Jonathan enjoined media practitioners to always ensure that their accounts of events should be fair, balanced and accurate. He warned against manipulations by politicians and selfish people with sectional motives to the detriment of collective national interest.
Asking Journalists to always go the extra mile in cross checking their facts so that only the truth comes out of what is published, the president said, as professionals who are crucial to the wellbeing of any nation, journalists in Nigeria have played and have continued to be playing important roles in nation building.