The lawmaker representing Oyo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Kola Balogun, on Thursday said press freedom and unfettered media industry are germane to strengthen Nigeria’s democracy and break down the walls of tyranny as well as bad governance.
He made the disclosure in a lecture he titled: ‘Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other Human Rights’, at the 30th edition of the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), ‘B’ Zone, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku GRA, Ibadan, Oyo State.
The lecture was attended by the secretary for the ‘B’ Zone, Abdulrasaq Alege, as well as chairmen and secretaries of NUJ in the zone, comprising Oyo, Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States. Traditional rulers, including members of the Olubadan Advisory Council also graced the lecture.
According to Balogun, “Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are siamese twins. Media are only free when there is a deliberate attempt to ensure that freedom of expression is guaranteed in human societies. Media is a platform for wide-ranging debates on war and peace as well as freedom from tyranny.
“Freedom of expression and media are what we need to strengthen our democracies and tear down the walls of tyranny and bad governance across the globe.
“A democratic media is needed because it gives us hope and chronicles the movements and organisations that are making history. It gives voice to the voiceless and encourage people to get involved in their struggles to make a difference. Social change will not come from the minds of the Commander-in-Chief, the generals or Mr. President; in fact, change is vulnerable to blockage by the powerful. Change begins with active common citizens, working in their communities.”
“The media should not have to agree with persons or groups, government or the most powerful. It is the media responsibility to include all voices in the discourse and then allow the people to decide.
Continuing, the lawmaker added: “Our democrácy is going through a wobbling evolution, if we continue to work at it, we will get to the promised land no matter how long it takes. But this is not achievable without a vibrant, highly professional and ethical media platform, devoid of sectoral corruption.
“Attractive remuneration and welfare package is the way out. Media educational institutions must be well funded and personal security of the practitioners be guaranteed. If media practitioners’ welfare is not a priority, journalists will cut corners, and compromise the standard of objectivity.
The Vice President of NUJ, ‘B’ Zone, Mrs. Aderonke Afebioye Samo, in her address, delivered by the NUJ chairman, Oyo State council, Comrade Ademola Babalola, advocated freedom of the press, protection of journalists and encouraging welfare packages for journalists in Nigeria.
She stated further: “Exactly 30 years ago, the United Nations’ General Assembly officially announced May 3rd of every year as an international day set aside to inform the citizenry of the violation of press freedom all over the World.
“The UN in its wisdom took this bold step as a result of incessant attacks, intimidations, harassment, deprivations, etc, suffered by journalists all over the World. This ugly trend portends a grave danger to information dissemination to the extent that journalists loose their jobs and even paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of their duty.”
READ ALSO FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE