Buhari To Journalists: Press Freedom Not Green Light To ‘Licentiousness’
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Sunday, cautioned journalists in Nigeria against mistaking press freedom for liberty to report anything without observing the “rules of correctness”.
Buhari, whose administration has been accused of having a strong aversion to media freedom, said the sensitivity of the country’s polity demands responsibility from journalists.
The president stated this in his message to media professionals on the occasion of the 2021 world press freedom day.
In a statement by his senior media adviser, Femi Adesina, President Buhari said his administration remained committed to freedom of the press.
“That everything is permitted does not mean that there are no rules of correctness, particularly in a polity seriously challenged as ours now,” Shehu quoted Buhari to have said.
“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.”
According to the presidential aide, Buhari urged journalists to choose freedom with responsibility over “licentious freedom”
Last year, the Buhari administration raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5million through amendment of the National Broadcasting Code.
The move was perceived by many as an attempt to intimate dissenting voices, stifle freedom of expression and gag the press.