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Journalists encouraged over FoI Bill

BENIN — NIGERIAN journalists have been advised not to be discouraged by the non-passage of the Freedom of Information, FoI, Bill by the National Assembly.

Special Adviser to Governor Adams Ohiomhole on Media, Mr. Tony Iyare, who gave the advice in Benin, yesterday, at a lecture organised by Edo State Council of Nigeria Union Journalists, NUJ, said that freedom the world over did not come easy.

“We have to struggle and fight to earn freedom. So we must deepen that struggle to ensure the passage.
“If the Bill is passed today, it is the beginning of another round of struggle. As journalists, we have to ensure that the political leaders abide by the principles of law,” he said.

He called on journalists to brace up for the challenges of the post-passage of the FoI Bill which he described as quite enormous.

According to him, “at no time than now is better to be a journalist owing to the advancement in communication technology which makes the job easier.”

He, however, lamented that most journalists were yet to exploit the tools of the trade provided by information technology to deepen the issues of freedom and democracy.

Iyare warned that the job of the  journalists would be taken over by the popular and social media unless the mainstream journalists got enlisted in the information age and the multiplicity of news sources.

“You can see man on the street with his mobile phone recording happenings not only of human interest angle but on important issues and he sends same to any part of the world.

“These groups of people are not journalists, but they have equipped themselves with the basic tools to get information and send same across the globe in no time.

“We must also equip ourselves with the tools of the profession. Let us look beyond paper qualification as journalists so that we can still be relevant in the present scheme of things,” advised.

Earlier, the chairman of the NUJ, Edo State Council, Comrade Friday Obanor, said the theme of the celebration was apt, as media practitioners were in dire need of the passage of the FOI bill.

He implored journalists to promote issues that would enrich democracy in the country, as against succumbing to pressures from anti-democratic forces.


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