President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr Femi Adesina, has said that the celebration of the World Press Freedom Day today has afforded the country the opportunity to, once again, reflect on the state of the media.
He also said that the country had gone through very grave trials, threatening the very foundation of its existence.
Adesina, who is also the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers, made this known in a statement.
He added that it is imperative that all stakeholders forge a synergy to save the ship of the state from running aground.
“If there is any time government should see the media as ally in national development, rather than adversary, it is now.
“Without a free press, good governance cannot be guaranteed, the fight against corruption would at best be tepid and our political development would be stunted and sluggish, while the fundamental human rights of the citizenry would be trampled upon with impunity. But a free press will accelerate national development and engender the country of our dreams, which yet remains in the realm of envisioning,” he said.
Adesina further stated that the atmosphere in which the press operates today is far better than what it used to be, but it is not yet Uhuru.
He added that there were still serious assaults against journalists and media workers, bordering on infringement of their fundamental human rights and attempt to stifle and muzzle them.
“Only recently, an editor was abducted from his home in Lagos, manacled for 12 hours and driven to another state, where he was slammed with charges of sedition. Journalists are still harassed, intimidated, brutalised and even killed outright. The country is replete with cases of journalists killed in the line of duty in recent years and not a single one of such cases has been unravelled by our security agencies. When the media is under assault, it is a detriment of us all,” he stated.
He added that with 70 journalists killed worldwide last year, 211 held in various prisons and over 1,000 killed since 1992, “let us use this occasion of World Press Freedom Day to, as a country, embrace free press, which can work without intimidation, harassment, and interference. Our country will be better for it. It is in our collective interest.
“If any leader at whatever level, however, chooses to remain antagonist to their media, such needs to be reminded that the media ultimately survives to publish the fall from grace of its adversaries,”he stated.