By Hammed Salawu, Minna
As part of activities to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, Niger State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists, has called on the political class to desist from using social media scavengers to misinform, peddle malice and fake news thereby undermining the effort of professional journalists for objective and free press.
In his message, the Council Chairman, Comrade Abu Nmodu speaking on this year’s theme “Journalism Under Digital Siege”, highlighted the precarious nature of journalism practice and the manner politicians, in their quest for power over rely on the Social media for campaign of calumny by covering up the core issues that mainstream media seek to query.
Comrade Abu said this in its entirety is a siege on journalism, and directly a clog in the wheel of press freedom; that is the heart of true democracy, open and participatory governance.
The Chairman explained that as electioneering campaigns towards 2023 were fast approaching, the council will not relent, as part of its responsibility, in ensuring that the people were well informed and educated for them to make the right choice devoid of intimidation
“To this end, we are going to invite all those who seek political offices in Niger state to a debate on their plans for the state and if any of them refuses to honor our invitation, that means he or she has nothing to offer” the chairman posited.
“As journalists, it is our duty to let the electorate know the type of person they should elect as leaders and not those who will promise and fail without any form of accountability, nobody should see leadership as a favour to the people hence it is a personal choice to serve and to serve you must be ready to subject yourself to public scrutiny based on issues germane to the wellbeing of the people ” he added.
He explained that World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.
Comrade Abu said “Since then May 3 every year, is observed as the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek and is celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day.
The NUJ Chairman lauded the efforts of civil society Organizations, Non Governmental Organizations and other bodies who have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure press freedom in Niger state.