World Press Day: Obaseki tasks journalists on ethics, facts-based reportage amid COVID-19
…salutes courage, commitment
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged journalists to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession and live up to their responsibilities of providing reliable and credible information to the public, noting that accurate and fact-based news reports and analysis were necessary in governments efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Obaseki said this in commemoration of the 2020 World Press Freedom Day with the theme, ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour,’ marked every May 3, by the United Nations and other sister organs.
The governor noted that journalists as society’s watch-dog and members of the exalted fourth estate of the realm, have an obligation to report only verified, fact-based and objective news in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, as whatever they report have implications on how quickly the outbreak is contained and the number of lives that will be saved.
Governor Obaseki who identified journalists and the media as critical to getting the right messages to communities, reassured that his administration will continue to ensure the safety and security of all media practitioners in the state.
According to him, “As we mark the World Press Freedom Day, I want to urge media practitioners to uphold the ethics of the journalism profession, leverage on the power of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and ensure they provide the public with fact-based, verified and credible information.
“Amid the welter of information swirling about the novel coronavirus, it has become even more imperative for journalists to effectively perform their role of providing reliable and credible information to the public. Accuracy and balance should be integral when reporting situations that compromise public health, such as this outbreak; reporting the facts with a genuine intent to inform the public should be paramount.”
“I also commend the display of courage and commitment by our journalists who daily, among other essential professionals, have remained on the frontlines of efforts in curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The UN General Assembly in 1993 proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, following a recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference in 1991.It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide.