President Muhammadu Buhari says technological advancement has had a positive impact on media practice globally.
He made the remark on Thursday at the opening of the World Congress of the International Press Institute IPI, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Nigerian leader therefore commended the theme chosen by the institute for its 2018 congress: “Why good Journalism matters, quality media for strong societies,” because it addresses most of the challenges the world is currently facing.
“The changing media landscape, the explosion of the social media and the rapidly evolving new technology has had profound impact on media business and media practice. It is satisfying therefore, that you have chosen an appropriate theme for your conference. ‘Why good Journalism matters, quality media for strong societies.’ In a world where the borderline between hate speech and free speech has become blood, good Journalism matters. In an environment where fake news dwarfs investigative reporting, good Journalism matters. For survival in an increasingly competitive field, good Journalism matters. Good Journalism promotes good governance; I therefore urge participants at this congress to give good depth to the topics in your discussions and conclusions,” he said.
The President commended the organizers of the event for allowing Nigeria to host the global event, saying that the decision to do so depicts the safety of the country, having suffered a lot from the boko haram insurgency.
“It is the first time in the 68 years history of the largest premier platform of for Press freedom that Editors, Media Executives and leading Journalists would gather in this country for its World Congress and General Assembly. Nigeria is most honoured to host you. Your annual congress is holding in Nigeria during a period of global terrorism. Nigeria experienced that scourge through Boko Haram, which has been technically degraded and has no territorial hold anywhere anymore in its North-East operational base. The Internally Displaced Persons are gradually returning to their communities in reasonable safety and security. It is a reflection of your assessment of Nigeria as a safe country that you gave the country the hosting right for this conference. As you have seen since your arrival you made a wise and right choice,” he explained.
Furthermore, he said Nigeria has a robust relationship with IPI that has stretched over the years and would be sustained.
“Our country has a history of robust relationship with the International Press Institute. Prominent Nigerian Journalists and media operators were and would continue to be in the leadership of the international body. Perhaps, the most significant symbol of this relationship is the establishment of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism in Ogba-Ikeja, Lagos, which was established by the International Press Institute in 1963. It is our pride that your vision of professional Journalism training institution in Nigeria has taken firm root,” the President stated.
President Buhari noted with pride, one of the reform initiatives of his administration, the policy that allows the provision of visa on arrival, which he said the conference participants benefited form.
Speaking earlier, outgoing Chairman of the International Press Institute, Mr John Yearwood, said the IPI has done a lot, especially for Journalists who suffered in Turkey.
He expressed delight that most of them are now working freely in that country, as a result of interventions by the Institute.
Appeal to President Buhari
He however appealed to President Buhari to look into the case of a Journalist, John Aberi, who has been in detention for over two years.
Mr Yearwood thanked member of the Institute for opportunity they gave him to serve as Chairman of IPI.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of the Institute, Barbara Trionfi said although Journalists are facing persecution globally, they are still showing solidarity for each other. She said they must be more united in order to frustrate their persecutors.
Trionfi said brave Journalists will continue working hard despite the challenges.
“As we gather here today from different countries to open IPI’s 67th World Congress, there is a sense that independent Journalism is under attack and press freedom has eroded all over the world. From Mexico to the Philippines, from Zimbabwe to Turkey, from Russia to Ethiopia, Journalists are being imprisoned. They are denied access to justice. They are threatened and insulted on social media.
“They are directly targeted and labelled as traitors and enemies of the state and they are killed, shot in front of their houses, on their way to work, by killers who know that murdering Journalists is the easiest way to silence them and ensure that the stories of corruption they were investigating, the wrongdoings they had uncovered will never be revealed.
“At least 43 journalists have been killed so far in 2018 in places like Afghanistan, Mexico, India, Pakistan or the Philippines to mention a few. Also here in Nigeria, a country with a very lively news industry which enjoys a good degree of press freedom, safety has been a serious problem for journalists, not only those covering the areas where insurgents are active but also journalists covering corruption have been targeted,” she said.
The world gathering of Journalists seeks the protection and freedom of Journalists as well as the free flow of news all over the world.