President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged the Nigerian media to wield its freedom responsibly and without licentiousness.
Buhari, in a message on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day; observed globally every May 3, recommitted to freedom of the press; noted that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish.
The president, however, said such freedom must be used responsibly.
"That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now," Buhari said while celebrating the landmark day with the media in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina.
"The media must be sensitive to what we are going through as a country, and anything that would exacerbate the situation and further inflame passions and emotions, should be avoided. The media needs to ensure that while informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda for public discourse, it does not encourage incendiary words and actions that could further hurt our unity in diversity."
Buhari said licentious freedom is different from freedom with responsibility, charging the Nigerian media to embrace the latter rather than the former.
On the part of government, President Buhari promised greater cooperation with the media to discharge its duties in line with the theme of this year's World Press Freedom Day, 'Information as a Public Good.'
The president, who charged those managing information for government to do everything in public interest, encouraged the media to use the Freedom of Information Act available to make its jobs easier. He said it was very vital to have access to reliable information in an era of misinformation, disinformation and hate speech, all to cause discord in society.