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WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: Nigerian editors demand compliance with global values

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: Nigerian editors demand compliance with global values

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has reaffirmed that media freedom, freedom of expression and access to public information are crucial to democracy.

NGE also said the three must be at the heart of the Nigerian government’s values and actions.

The professional body of editors and media executives in Nigeria added that it recognises the crucial role played by journalists, media workers and free/ independent media in protecting the country’s democracy and advised them not to give up, in spite of the prevailing economic challenges.

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Nigerian editors restate commitment to defence of democracy, press freedom

Nigerian editors restate commitment to defence of democracy, press freedom

In a press statement issued on Thursday to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day and signed by its president, Mr. Eze Anaba and the general secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the Guild requested the National Assembly to initiate and adopt a law to protect journalists, who speak out on matters of public interest, especially against abusive and strategic lawsuits, which are regularly initiated to silence them.

This year, the World Press Freedom Day, is dedicated to emphasising the importance of good journalism amidst the current global environmental crisis.

“In line with the theme of this year’s celebration, we believe that journalism and freedom of expression are crucial in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

“Journalism and freedom of expression help in raising public awareness about environmental issues; holding power accountable; amplifying marginalized voices; promoting transparency and accountability; fostering public debate/engagement, and providing a platform for solutions,” the editors added.

According to the editors, “The federal government will fundamentally be promoting the enabling environment for media to operate responsibly if it adopts a law to protect persons who speak out on matters of public interest against abusive lawsuits meant to silence them.

“The federal government should take a clue from the European Union and other democracies around the world, who have adopted similar laws to protect journalists and media houses against Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP suit).”

About World Press Freedom Day

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day in order to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression. This day is observed annually, marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.

History and Prizes

UNESCO plays a significant role in commemorating World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on individuals, organizations, or institutions that have made outstanding contributions to the defense and promotion of press freedom worldwide. This prestigious prize was established in 1997 and is awarded based on recommendations from an independent jury comprising news professionals. The Prize is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated for his critical writings against powerful drug barons.

UNESCO Conference

Additionally, UNESCO organizes annual conferences on World Press Freedom Day that bring together media professionals, press freedom organizations, and UN agencies to evaluate the state of press freedom globally and discuss strategies for addressing challenges faced by journalists. Each conference focuses on a specific theme related to press freedom issues such as good governance, media coverage of terrorism, impunity, and the role of media in post-conflict countries.

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