Editors and Stakeholders Vow to Stand Up to Press Freedom Attacks
Editors under the All Nigeria Guild of Editors and other media industry stakeholders have pledged to resist the ongoing assault on press freedom in the country.
They spoke yesterday at the 18th All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) in Owerri, the capital of Imo State. The chairman of the Nigerian Editors Guild (NGE), Mustapha Isa, instructed participants to avoid divisive rhetoric and challenge any attempt to trample on press freedom.
According to him, the editors spearheaded the passage of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act by the National Assembly to ensure accurate dissemination of information for the good of the country.
He assured Nigerians that the media would interview candidates for the 2023 general election and their manifestos on service delivery.
Isa appealed to the politicians not to heat up the political regime and refrain from their current campaigns which are full of acrimonies to the issue-based election campaign.
The NGE chairman argued that editors play a vital role in maintaining democracy in the country, adding that there must be free and fair elections.
Isah said that Imo is the first state in the southeast zone to host the conference in the country and expressed his gratitude to Governor Hope Uzodimma for the gesture.
He accused Nigerians of avoiding politicians who seek to divide the country, adding that editors were in a better position to interview candidates.
The chairman of the event, Prof. Stella Okunna called the media powerful, saying that only the media has the ability to gather, aggregate and disseminate information to the people.
She said that wherever there is no media, democracy will collapse.
She said, “Take out the media and democracy will die. The media determine the agenda.
While noting that media practice is risky, Okunna called on journalists to continue to show courage in holding leaders accountable.
Governor of the state, Hope Uzodimma, in welcoming the editors, declared Imo as a safe place, although he maintained that the state has turned to the destination of major events in the country.
Uzodimma described editors as genuine stakeholders and called on them to take responsibility for their duties, which include maintaining democracy, saying they should resist attempts to warm the regime.
Governor says role of editors is highly critical amid current political headlines and commentary that incites divisiveness, threat to national security and sectoral interests, months before election general.
He cited instances of negative and unverified reports against the state, especially in the development and social cohesion initiatives of Nigerians.
“Now is the time to enforce ethical conduct and industry sanctions against misconduct,” he said.