Greetings to the welcoming and charitable people of Rivers State. This is another episode of Rivethics on Radio, our character-building weekend show. It is my priviledge and honour to welcome you to this episode. Please remember that the great thing about freedom is that it gives room, not only for responsibility, but for infinite possibilities. Our topic today is “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law,” which is the theme of the 2018 Press Freedom Day Celebration of the United Nations which took place on May 3rd.
On the occasion of this year’s World Press Freedom Day, UNESCO is organising an international conference for the defence of the freedom of the press, to be held in Accra, Ghana, during which the UNESCO-Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize will be awarded. The Prize bears the name of the Colombian journalist assassinated in 1986 for bravely denouncing the power of drug-trafficking cartels.
UNESCO is the UN Agency committed to defending the safety of journalists and fighting against impunity for crimes committed against them. It also contributes to their training and helps the authorities in different countries to adapt their laws on freedom of expression to international standards.
Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” These words were penned by President Thomas Jefferson of the United States in 1786, but remain very true and relevant today.
In the words of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, “a free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all. It is crucial to building transparent and democratic societies and keeping those in power accountable. It is vital for sustainable development.”
The huge role of the Press is to beam their searchlight on local and global challenges and tell the stories that ensure accountability from all of us in society. This is an invaluable service to humanity.
As we call on the Press to apply more capacity, balance and transparency to the job, the Society and Government owe the Press all the support and protection needed to do their work. The Professional Press is distinct from mischief makers who spread fake and unverified news. The latter are offenders who have the long arm of the law to contend with. But the Professional Press should constantly be celebrated and encouraged for the noble role they play as Society’s watchdog.
Our guest speaker today is Mr. Olalekan Ige, Editor, Independent Monitor newspaper and Special Adviser on Media to the President of SWAN. He will throw more light on the subject. Please enjoy the episode.
Our loving Rivers People, please remember to always let your manners speak for you.
God bless and keep you and your families and God bless Rivers State.
Her Excellency, Justice (Mrs) Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, the Wife of the Governor of Rivers State and Initiator of the RivEthics Social Development Programme.
You can also listen to and download the Pidgin English version of this Episode below