Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged politicians and public office holders not to gag the media.
He said press freedom is among the important aspects of a democracy.
Sanwo-Olu spoke at a workshop organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) with the theme: Journalist and Digitalisation: the Imperative of Good Corporate Governance, yesterday in Ikeja.
The governor, who was the special guest of honour to declare the workshop open, noted that ensuring good corporate governance and self-regulation of the digital space would eradicate false information and fake news.
He assured the media that his administration would continue to promote press freedom and good corporate governance as well as provide enabling environment for journalists in the state to practice their profession unhindered.
Sanwo-Olu urged media practitioners to always regulate their activities in the digital space, saying: “I stand with you (media practitioners) in solidarity to say that, indeed, your profession is not just a noble one but it’s the one that gives the general public an independent assessment, holding our governance and government accountable at all times. And so, we need to be very careful as politicians and public officers that we do not gag this profession (media) and do not unduly stifle free press.
“Our government understands and appreciates that press freedom is the way in which we can hold government accountable. But it is also the responsibility of all of us here to ensure that we understand the thin line and self-regulate our activities.
“I cannot agree less with the President of the NGE who says the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should not only be independent, it should be equipped with men of impeccable character and integrity that can work like the Oxfam of this world and indeed sanction erring people but give freedom for all of you to do your work.”
Sanwo-Olu urged media practitioners to eradicate fake and false news.
NGE President Mustapha Issa said the media would not succumb to pressure from any government to determine the people’s right to information.
He said a situation where the NBC, which reports to the Minister of Information and Culture, is also the one that unilaterally imposes fines on broadcast stations for unfavorable reports, is tantamount to gagging the media.
Issa, who urged media owners to embrace good corporate governance and accountability, said the role of scrutiny of the media should not be left to the government alone.
The NGE president stressed that the media should not be threatened.
Also, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Lanre Idowu, said digitalisation has brought more opportunities to journalism but has equally brought to the fore the need to uphold ethics and quality content.