Sanwo-Olu Harps On Press Freedom Importance In Democracy As NGE Sues For Professional Ethics

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L-R: Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, watches as President of Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mallam Mustapha Isah welcomes Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the NGE workshop with the theme Journalism and Digitalisation: The Imperative of Good corporate Governance, held at De Rembrandt Hotel, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, 4th August 2022

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu flanked by President of Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mallam Mustapha Isah (left), followed by Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso; Chairman of the occasion & CEO, Diamond Publications Limited, Mr. Lanre Idowu (right) and members of the Guild, during the NGE workshop with the theme Journalism and Digitalisation: The Imperative of Good corporate Governance, held at De Rembrandt Hotel, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, 4th August 2022

Nigerian politicians and public office holders were on Thursday urged not to gag the media, as press freedom is important in a democracy.

Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor,
made the appeal on at a workshop organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), themed: “Journalist and Digitalisation: the imperative of Good Corporate Governance” in 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.

Assuring that his administration will continue to promote Press Freedom and good corporate governance as well as enabling environment for journalists in the state, Governor Sanwo-Olu urged media practitioners to always regulate their activities in the digital space.

Said he: “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.

“Our government understands and appreciates that press freedom is the way in which we can hold government accountable. But it is also the responsibility of all of us here to ensure that we understand the thin line; and also self-regulate our activities.

Governor Sanwo-Olu while stressing the need for media practitioners to self-regulate themselves, urged them to work towards the complete eradication of fake and false news.

Admonished Sanwo-Olu: “Regarding my view about corporate governance, it is also to ensure that in the digital space we eradicate completely within the profession false news and fake news. People sometimes rush to post something without doing proper due diligence to verify what they are posting and ask themselves what damage would I do if they found out what I posted is not completely true.

“You must be a bit more circumspect and know that once information is out there, you cannot retrieve it. That in itself puts a lot of professional pressure on whoever that is posting any report”.

Sanwo-Olu also seeks continuous support from the media for his administration.

Said he: “I have enjoyed working with all of you and I am looking forward to enjoying more in the remaining part of my four years tenure. And if all of you feel so compelling during the election, I will also not mind being your governor again for another tenure”.

Speaking earlier, Mustapha Issa, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, said the media would continue to do its job as the watchdog of the society, knowing fully that the people’s right to information is important and constitutionally guaranteed.

The NGE President, who urged media owners to embrace good corporate governance and accountability, said the role of scrutiny of the media should not be that of the government alone, adding that the media should not be threatened.

Issa said digital technology had provided room for journalists to become competitive and open sources of income.

Also speaking, a veteran journalist and the Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Lanre Idowu, said digitalisation had brought more opportunities to journalism but had equally brought to the fore the need to uphold ethics, and quality content.

He said journalists must decide whether to embrace digital platforms or be out of business.

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