On this day May 3rd 1993, at the UN conference began the celebration of the International World Press Freedom Day, an occasion to commemorate the many lives of journalists lost in the course of their profession. It also serves as a reminder to the government of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
Every year UNESCO marks this occasion by bringing together UN officials, media professionals and press freedom agencies to assess the state of press freedom, its challenges and limitations and ways to address it. With celebrations held in over 100 countries, the world is finally looking to protect its journalist.
As Nigerian journalists join the rest of their counterparts in the world on this celebration, this year focuses on three inter-related theme: media’s importance in development; safety of journalists and the rule of law; and the sustainability and integrity of journalism. some thoughts can not help but come to mind, is the place of media as a cornerstone for sustainable development,dialogue and democracy been effective in Nigeria, Is the Nigerian press without political bias,is there integrity in our journalism and above all, is the Nigerian journalist assured of safety in the course of his profession. This and many more questions plague the mind of Nigerians on this occasion.
If freedom of expression is essential for the development of a Nation, the lack of it thereof impedes the development of that Nation. In dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
As we celebrate this day we urge the government to demonstrate more enthusiasm in ensuring the safety of journalists for until the Press is accorded their place as partakers in the development of the Nation, the sector might not know any true progress. We join the rest of the world to honor those lives lost and those who put their lives at risk to ensure good journalism. HAPPY WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY!!!