President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he is recommitted to freedom of the press but cautioned the media to wield freedom responsibly, and without licentiousness.
Buhari said this as part of the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every May 3 noting that freedom of the press is an irreducible minimum in a democracy that would flourish, adding that freedom must, however, 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,” President Buhari says.
“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,” he said.
Licentious freedom, the President said, is different from freedom with responsibility, and charges the Nigerian media to embrace the latter, rather than the former.
On the part of government, President Buhari pledged 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.’