Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has admonished politicians and public office holders against gaging the media, saying press freedom was important in a democracy.
The governor stated this on Thursday at a workshop organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), themed: “Journalist and Digitalisation: the imperative of Good Corporate Governance” at Ikeja, Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu, who was the Special Guest of Honour to declare the workshop open, said ensuring good corporate governance and self-regulation of the digital space would completely eradicate false and fake news.
While assuring that his administration will continue to promote Press Freedom and good corporate governance as well as enabling the environment for journalists in the state, he urged media practitioners to always regulate their activities in the digital space.
His words: “I stand with you (media practitioners) in solidarity; to say that, indeed, your profession is not just a noble one, but it’s the one that gives the general public an independent assessment; holding our governance and government accountable at all times. And so, we need to be very careful as politicians and public officers that we do not gag this profession (media) and do not unduly stifle free press.
“ I cannot agree less with the President of the NGE that says that the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission should not only be independent, it should be equipped with men of impeccable character and integrity that can work like the Oxfam of this world and indeed sanction erring people but give freedom for all of you to do your work.”
Earlier, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Issa, said the media would not succumb to pressure from the government to determine the people’s right to information.
He said the situation where the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) that reports to the Minister of Information would also be the one to unilaterally impose fines on broadcast stations for unfavorable reports was tantamount to gagging the media.