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National Assembly supports free press in Nigeria – Speaker

The Speaker House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has reiterated the National Assembly’s commitment to enact laws which provides conducive environment for journalism to thrive in the country.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, to mark World Press Freedom Day, Speaker Dogara expressed concern over Nigeria’s International Press Freedom Index.

Saying that it is disheartening that the Press Freedom Index � released last Wednesday by Reporters Without Borders (RWBl) � ranked Nigeria 122 out of 180 countries examined.

The Speaker further argued that the role the media plays in the development of a country as watchdog � especially in a democracy � cannot be overemphasized, and called on the Nigerian media to partner with the present administration to make its task of fighting corruption a success, not only by objective reporting but through investigative journalism.

Mr. Dogara gave assurance that the House of Representatives will continue to support measures to promote press freedom in Nigeria, especially through laws that facilitate the practice of journalism such as the Freedom of Information Act, which was passed by the National Assembly in 2011.

We all know the role of the media in promoting democracy, because democracy itself guarantees nothing, it’s just a set of ideals that people utilizing the freedom that democracy brings to organize their lives in such a manner that delivers social progress and economic development.

The media serves as one of the voices of democracy and I believe that beyond all the roles played by all others, the media is far ahead because it keeps the citizens informed about what government is doing and that enables them to hold public officials accountable, for instance, to the promises that they made, the Speaker explained.

He urged practitioners to strive to ensure that there’s always timely, accurate and balanced reportage and decried the situation whereby some professionals engage in brinkmanship or politicizing their content, saying that such acts tend to endanger democracy, because in that way citizens aren’t well informed.

Source: Voice of Nigeria