By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) has stressed that development development goals can only be achieved with a strategically positioned media.
AMDF Coordinator, Sekyen Dadik expressed this while briefing the press as the world commemorates the 25th World Press Freedom Day on Thursday at the foundation’s office in Kaduna.
“AMDF strongly believes that for any development goals to be achieved and sustained the media must be strategically positioned, hence the need for the media to be equipped so it can contribute meaningfully to the development discourse,” she said.
She explained that Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) joins the Media and Journalists all over the world to celebrate the 25th World Press Freedom Day.
“Journalists indeed deserve to be recognized and celebrated because carrying out their mandate of informing, educating and enlightening the public in most cases have been a daunting effort. In spite of the sacrifices put in, journalists have remained exposed to all kinds of threats.
“In view of this, World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991 in response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
“UNESCO notes that the day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered,” she added.
The AMDF Coordinator explained that this year’s global theme: ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’ is apt as it highlights the gains of an enabling legal environment for press freedom and the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists.
“The theme which also addresses the role of media in sustainable development especially during elections as a watchdog for fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law is no doubt a call for Nigerian journalists to reflect on their role in defending and preserving Nigeria’s democracy.
“The link between the Media, Judiciary and Rule of law remains critical to the overall development of any nation. While the media creates demand for transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, the judiciary must ensure every form of impunity against journalists becomes a thing of the past.
“As the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections, the media must ensure the electoral process is conducted transparently and with respect for rule of law,” she advised.
Speaking further, she said that AMDF uses the opportunity to reiterate its commitment in promoting press freedom and enhancing the knowledge and skills of journalists so they can be effective in the pursuance of sustainable development.
“As we remember the 79 journalists assassinated worldwide in 2017, we also stand with journalists who were attacked or threatened in the cause of contributing towards a just, informed and enlightened society.
“The 2018 Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders pegs Nigeria at 119/180 from 122 in 2017. It revealed State Governors as Media’s most determined prosecutor’s, acting with complete impunity. This no doubt becomes a threat to investigative reporting and any form of in-depth reporting.
“We therefore call on all and sundry; especially those in authority to support in creating a favorable atmosphere for journalists to thrive in their profession without fear and intimidation.
“AMDF strongly commends the tenacity of African Journalists who have against all odds of intimidation, poor or no remuneration remained watch dogs of the society. This steadfastness must be recognized and upheld!” She concluded.