“Don’t Restrain The Media” – Sanwo-Olu Tells Politicians
As the 2023 general elections draw closer, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has asked politicians and public office holders not to restrain the media, saying press freedom was important in a democracy.
Speaking at a workshop organized by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said ensuring good corporate governance and self-regulation of the digital space would destroy false and fake news.
The workshop took place just days after the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), following a directive by Minister of Information Lai Mohammed, imposed fines on some media organizations for broadcasting documentaries highlighting banditry and terrorism in Nigeria; a development the All Progressives Congress-led federal government viewed in a bad light.
Sanwo-Olu, a member of the ruling APC, however, assured that his administration would continue to promote press freedom and corporate governance as well as an enabling environment for journalists in the state.
“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 restrain this profession (media) and do not unduly suppress the free press.
“I cannot agree less with the President of the NGE that says that the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission should not only be independent, it should be furnished with men of impeccable character and integrity that can work like the Oxfam of this world and indeed sanction offending people but give freedom for all of you to do your work,” the governor told.
Speaking earlier, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Issa, said the situation where the NBC that reports to the Minister of Information would also be the one to unilaterally inflict fines on broadcast stations for negative reports was tantamount to gagging the media.