The GreenLand News Magazine in Conjunction with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) FCT Council, commemorates World Press Freedom Day Thursday 3rd May,2023 in Abuja.
The occasion converged dignitaries who were conferred with “Role Models Award”. Among who were; Director General/CEO National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, Nigerian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Amb. Dr. Hajara Ibrahim Salim, ably represented by Amb. Prof David Morondiya Aiye, and Executive Chairman Federal Character Commission Dr Muheeba Dankaka, OON, NPON and others.
In his Keynote address, Prof. Isaac Butswat Sammani Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) said the World Press Freedom Day started about 30 years ago (i.e 1993) when the United Nation (UN) General Assembly proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.
He said there been improvement and progress in free press and freedom of expression in different parts of the world.
“There have also been increase in proliferation of independent media in different and diverse countries as well as the rise of digital technologies enabling and advancing the free flow of information especially online.
“UNESCO (2023) reported that media freedom, safety of journalists and freedom of expression are increasingly under attack, which impacts the realization of other human rights. Internationally and locally in Nigeria, many communities face multiple crises; conflicts and violence, persistent socio-economic inequalities driving migration, environmental crises and challenges to the health and wellbeing of people, while disinformation and misinformation online and offline proliferate with serious impact on the institutions underpinning democracy, the rule of law and human rights.” Prof. Isaac stated.
In her welcome address, Mrs Peace Ofeoshi, Editor-in-Chief of the GreenLand News Magazine said World Press Freedom Day is observed annually on 3 May. Its main celebration is organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
“It serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
“Noting that this year’s title of the conference is ‘Shaping a future of Rights – Freedom of Expression as a Driver for all other Human Rights’ signifying the enabling element of Freedom of Expression to enjoy and protect all other Human Rights.
“The right to freedom of expression and its corollary, the right to access information, allow Press to seek, receive and impart information, ideas, concepts and beliefs across borders and cultures. And in this exercise, the media and journalists play an essential role: they help verify and disseminate facts, they create spaces for ideas to be debated and for the voiceless to be heard, and they render complex matters intelligibly for the public at large”.Ofeoshi said.
She adding that the crucial importance of press freedom in upholding human rights and the impact of its limitations on all fundamental freedoms has been made particularly clear during recent emergencies that have affected the world, ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to electoral crises, armed conflicts, or environmental issues. Yet, attempts to silence the media continued to multiply around the globe, with old methods of censorship, violence and harassment.
Mrs Peace thererefore called on all hands to be on deck to support the media also said it will enable them discharge their responsibility credibly.