The Nigeria Union of journalists Kwara State Council has on Monday joined Journalists across the globe in celebration of this year World Press Freedom Day in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital at state press centre.
Alhaji Tunde Akanbi during his contribution.
The event also features post mortem award to the first treasure of the union, late Robert Ajayi Ayeni who died some decades ago.
In his key note address delivered at the ceremony, the guest speaker, Mr. Gbemiga Bamidele said journalists must remain loyal to the public by putting the public interest first above their own personal benefits.
He explained that journalists is expected to be all incisive in their news reporting to maintain credibility and social trust, pointing out that it may be a high task for journalists to be objective with the methods of information accumulation.
He stressed that it can be achieved only through a process of verification of information as well as independence by the journalist on all levels including class, race, gender, religion or culture, adding that the manner in which information is presented by journalists is very important.
Mr. Gbemiga Bamidele during the presentation of his speech.
“It must be presented in a way that the content is understood and relevant to the public and all the qualities and features of a journalist that relates to the ethics and sense of responsibility to the wider public.
“The roles of journalists now goes deeper into helping the public understand the myriad in information available and more importantly to verify the reliability of the information before dissemination.
Bamidele maintained that the right to information is a right of everyone to access records of information of the government including non-state entities (private bodies), disclosing that the right to access records of the state is legal that has no reliant on any condition.
“This right is recognised in various international, regional and national legal instruments. It is a right that was originally seen as part of the broader right to freedom of expression but the right is now explicitly recognised as a stand-alone right and fundamental to the exercise of all other human rights.
The guest speaker reminded that In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 59 (1) which states that “the right to information is a fundamental human right and it is the touch stone of all the freedom which the UN has adopted.
He explained further that African commission on Human and Peoples right, also confirmed in a resolution that the right of access to information is a component of the fundamental right to freedom of expression and is indeed covered by the mandate of the special rapporteur on freedom of expression.
Left, the Regional Editor, Leadership Newspaper, Alhaji Abdullahi Oleson with other guests at the ceremony.
He advised journalists to stop disseminating false news, misinformation and disinformed the public because people are left with the confusion of not knowing what to believe as the significance of information is for public good.
In his paper tittle delivered at the ceremony, “Freedom of Expression and quality of Journalism”, Comrade Taiwo Otitolaye from Fellow, Chartered Institute for Public Diplomacy & Management (CIPDM)
Executive Director, Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA) said Freedom of expression is the legal groundwork which allows people to access information about current events and matters of public interest.
Mr. Taiwo Otitolaye presenting his key note address at event.
He said Freedom of expression covers freedom of speech, freedom of the press, gives individuals and communities the right to articulate their opinions without fear of retaliation, censorship or punishment.
He described the effective dependable media as a legal basis that freedom of expression gives the right to function and report freely, sometimes critically, without threat or fear of punishment.
He further described the features of quality Journalism to fact checking thatb needs to be true, balanced, unbiased, educative in context, new, accessible, understood, useful for the purpose it is meant for public interset, professional and Inculcate standards of best practices.
Otitolaye lamented that some Journalist have been murdered in Nigeria, like Abayomi Ogundeji, Bagsuda Litho, Dele Giwa, Bayo Eneche, Akogwu, Fidelis Ikwuebe, Precious Owolabi, Zakariya Issa and many others, while some have suffered toture and humiliation in the course of discharging their duty.
Left, Dr. Mrs. Feyisike Ajayi Obateru, Alhaji Tunde Akanbi, the NUJ state Chairman, Comrade Abdulwahab Umar, Mr. Taiwo Otitolaye and Mr. Gbemiga Bamidele during the programme.
In her acceptance speech, one of the daughters of celebrant, Dr. Mrs. Feyisike Ajayi Obateru described her late father as a community developer who joined others to cleared the construction of new road to Oke Onigbin.
She said her father formed a cooperative society, a primary school, establishment of Eruku Commercial Secondary School and Methodist High School through his connection.
She added that her father as a journalist he was very inquisitive who always seeking information, disclosing that late Ayeni was later installed as Asiwaju of Eruku in recognition of his efforts in establishment of higher institution of learning in the town.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman Kwara State Council of Journalists, Comrade Abdulwahab Umar said that 2021 world press freedom day was noble event with unique celebration.
He also described the late treasure of the union as a bold man who deserved to be honour by Kwara NUJ for fought for the freedom of press during his lifetime.
He appealed to all members of Kwara Journalists to uphold the ethics of profession and look inward in indisemination of information to the public by not expose to the risk of intimidation.
Others speaker include Dr. Mustapha Lambe from department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, a veteran journalist, Alhaji Tunde Akanbi among others.