The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, yesterday called on the Federal Government to correct its misconception about the mass media as the world celebrates the 2013 Press Freedom Day today.
The United Nations set aside every May 3 as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of expression.
In a statement in Lagos, the NGE said that successive administrations in Nigeria had treated the media with suspicion, instead of regarding it as an ally in national development.
The statement by the President of the guild, Mr Femi Adesina, noted that Nigeria’s robust and vibrant media had a history of commitment to noble causes, and played key roles in the struggle for independence, democratic rule, social justice and human rights.
“Today, the media is still in the vanguard of upholding all that is noble, just, fair and would rebound to the progress of the nation,” it stated.
It regretted that recent developments had reinforced the uneasy relationship that often existed between the Federal Government and the media.
“We urge the government to resist anything that might bear the slightest semblance to a curtailment of the freedom of the press. The media parades professionals, who are passionate and committed to the growth and development of the country on all fronts, and they do not deserve to be hounded, repressed or harassed.
“If there are inadvertent infractions of the rules, we expect nothing but the strictest form of conformity to due process and the rule of law in addressing such,” it said.
The guild also said that the Nigerian media was groaning under high cost of production inputs, and appealed to the government to use the opportunity of the Day to appraise how it could make life easier for the media.
It pledged that Nigerian editors would continue to give their best to engender cohesion and harmony in the polity.
“We will always uphold socially responsible acts and practices, and play to the hilt, our roles as partners in progress toward building a country where no man is oppressed, intimidated or harassed. Free press means free expression, and our country needs such to develop and hold its own in the comity of nations.
“The line between press freedom and repression is quite thin, and eternal vigilance is needed at all times,” it added.