President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that in a world where the borderline between hate speech and free speech has become blurred, good journalism matters saying, it promotes good governance and sustainable development.
In his keynote speech at the International Press Institute (IPI) World Congress 2018 with the theme: “Why Good Journalism Matters: Quality Media For Strong Societies’’ yesterday at the presidential villa in Abuja, President Buhari also noted that good journalism matters for survival in an increasingly competitive field.
President Buhari averred that the annual congress is holding in Nigeria during a period of global terrorism. He said Nigeria is experiencing the scourge via Boko Haram, which has been technically degraded and has no territorial hold anywhere, anymore, in its northeast operational base.
‘’The Internally Displaced Persons are gradually returning to their communities in reasonable safety and security,’’ he said.
He said the hosting of the IPI World Congress 2018 in Nigeria is a reflection of international assessment that Nigeria is a safe and secured country for investment.
The president said that for IPI to give Nigeria the hosting right for the conference they have made a wise and right choice.
‘’The changing media landscape, the explosion of the social media and the rapidly evolving new technology have had profound impact on media business and media practice. It is satisfying, therefore, that you have chosen an appropriate theme for your conference: ‘Why Good Journalism Matters: Quality Media for Strong Societies.’
‘’In a world where the borderline between hate speech and free speech has become blurred, good journalism matters. In an environment where fake news dwarfs investigative reporting, Good Journalism Matters. For survival in an increasingly competitive field, Good Journalism Matters. Good journalism promotes good governance. I therefore urge participants to give depth to the topic in your discussions and conclusions,’’ he said.
President Buhari said one of the reform initiatives of this administration is the introduction of visa on arrival policy.
He explained that the policy is designed to aid ease of doing business in Nigeria. He added that he was glad that international delegates to the conference are beneficiaries of the policy.
‘’Nigerian government has provided necessary support for a successful hosting right from the time our delegation presented its hosting bid in Qatar to the granting of that right in Germany last year.
‘’I commend the efforts of the Nigeria Hosting Committee for organizing this conference. It is one more evidence of Nigeria’s capacity for doing great things,’’ he added.
The executive director, International Press Institute (IPI) Barbara Trionfi decried that journalism is under attack and press freedom is under siege across the world.
Trionfi disclosed that ‘’in 2018 alone 43 journalists have been killed across the world.’’
She averred that the attack on journalism is on the rise. She said most often than not, they are threatened and in some cases killed to ensure that news are not being published or aired.
According to her, ‘’The attack on journalism is on the rise, most times they are threatened and in some cases killed to ensure that news are not being published. They are aware that killing journalist is a way of silencing them.’’
Trionfi noted that the future of journalists depends on the support they get from their country and audience.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria is on the path of recovery and sustainable development.
He said that the current administration has delivered on its key campaign promises of security, economy and fighting corruption.
He blamed the recent spike in the number of clashes between farmers and herdsmen on criminality, demographic, environmental, social and economic dynamics.
Alhaji Mohammed decried that the nation has lost more people to cattle rustling than even farmers/herders clashes.
He said it will be simplistic and indeed a distortions of facts to attribute the clashes to ethnic and religious reasons.
Explaining why the clashes persist despite the federal government’s interventions, Alhaji Mohammed said in 1963, Nigeria’s population was 52 million but today the nation’s population is about 190 million, which is four times the old figure.
Alhaji Mohammed said the land space has remained the same or has even shrunk due to the effect of desertification.
The President Newspaper Proprietor’s Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nduka Obaigbena, lamented that the number of security agencies in the country is not adequate for the nation’s population.
He called for concerted efforts to ensure the security of Nigerians, which according to him will lead to economic growth.
‘’Until we get it right as a country, there will be a serious problem across the world,’’ he said.
He, however, expressed confidence and optimism that the country can overcome and resolve its current challenges.
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