Senate backs Nigeria’s hosting of IPI conference

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

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Nigeria’s hosting of the forthcoming International Press Institute (IPI) conference, 2018 has received a major boost, with the country’s parliament throwing its weight behind the event.

This indication was made clear on Thursday, when the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki received a delegation from the International Press Institute (IPI) led by its Director, Barbara Traori paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Dr. Bukola Saraki also used the occasion to task the media on quality news reporting that will facilitate the sustenance of Democratic governance in the country. He said quality reporting of news would ensure the strengthening of the country’s democracy which would in turn reflect in the freedom and quality of the press.

“The strengthening of the democracy of a country will rest not only on the media but the government. That is why we really should be partners in progress and work closely together. That is not happening, there is need for us to continue to do that based on the understanding that we are on the same side,” he said.

According to the President of the Senate, when the parliament and the press work together as institutions, it would go a long way in ensuring that Nigerians were better served, “Institutions like us must be strengthened and when we strengthen our institutions, we don’t strengthen individuals because some of us will come and go but we must strengthen our institutions and democracy.”

Also speaking, Chairman, IPI World Congress Organising Committee, Mr Nduka Obaigbena said the institute was a network of global journalists, editors and publishers dedicated to the promotion of free press and good governance all over the world.

Mr. Obaigbena, who is the publisher of This Day Newspapers, said it was the decision of the IPI to grant Nigeria the hosting rights.

“It is our interest to showcase the best of Nigeria, to showcase our democracy which is thriving and continuing to showcase the fact that in Nigeria, we don’t quite have the trouble of the media like in the US.”

Earlier, the Director of the Institute Barbara Traori said “I would like to thank Nigeria for hosting it, the IPI considered this decision carefully. Of course there would be healthy tensions between the news media and the authorities, but we also do believe that in a democracy such as Nigeria, the space that the state can offer to quality journalism is vital.”

“Not only in the sense of ‘hands off’ but also in the sense of proactively giving the journalistic community, the safety they need to work professionally, and the information they need about the decision of the state, of the senate, and the government so that there can be coverage in the most accurate way.

“I am grateful that yourself and the institution you represent support this event and reiterate the request and hope that you would consider joining not only the congress, but also addressing our esteemed delegates.”

The IPI conference is scheduled to hold in June in Nigeria.

Omolayo.A