• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Editors lament harassment of journalists, task FG on industry’s cost of production

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The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has lamented the harassment of journalists in the country, saying they need not be hounded or repressed in any form since they are professionals who are passionate and committed to the growth and development of the country on all fronts.

It also expressed worry over media industry’s high cost of production inputs, urging the Federal Government to appraise how it can make life easier for the media.

Femi Adesina, president, NGE, in a statement to mark the World Press Freedom Day, enjoined the government that “if there are inadvertent infractions of the rules, we expect nothing but the strictest conformity to due process and the rule of law in addressing such. There are certain approaches that are incompatible with democratic norms. We do not expect that our governments at various levels will still resort to such, 14 years into unbroken democratic rule.”

According to Adesina, the media should be seen as partners in development, worthy allies in the nurturing of the country’s democracy and the quest for it to be a great nation. He lamented that curiously successive administrations in the country have treated the media with suspicion, if not as some sort of adversary, regretting that mindset, which, he said, a day like the World Press Freedom Day can help to correct.

“Nigeria’s robust and vibrant media have a worthy history of commitment to noble causes, and played key roles in the struggle for independence, democratic rule, social justice, freedom of speech, human rights, and the like. Today, the media are still in the vanguard of upholding all that is noble, just, fair, and indeed, all that would redound to progress and development of the country”, he noted.

According to him, recent developments in the country have, however, reinforced the uneasy relationship that often exists between the government and the media, urging the government to with determination resist anything that may bear the slightest semblance to a curtailment of freedom of the press, either overtly or covertly.

“Nigerian editors will always give their best to engender cohesion and harmony in the polity. It is our sacred duty and calling. We will always uphold socially responsible acts and practices, and play to the hilt our roles as partners in progress, towards building a country where no man is oppressed, intimidated or harassed”, Adesina declared.

He said free press means free expression, noting that the country needs such to develop, and to hold its own in the comity of nations.

“Freedom is a bulwark against tyranny. But freedom is also fragile, and World Press Freedom Day is an opportunity to reflect on this. The line between press freedom and repression is quite thin, and eternal vigilance is needed at all times, lest we find ourselves at the wrong side of the divide. Nigerian editors will continue to stand for ethical practices in an atmosphere free of any foreboding or apprehension. That is the essence of World Press Freedom Day”, the editors said.

They also said the media industry is groaning under high cost of production inputs, calling on the Federal Government to appraise how it can make life easier for the press.

“An industry that operates under near-economic strangulation due to unfriendly government policies cannot be said to be really free”, the editors said.