As part of our World Press Freedom Day events it is a pleasure to welcome you to a global webchat, and a panel discussion. We are joined today by journalists at American spaces in Kano, Bauchi, Jos, Calabar and Ibadan.
On the 26th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day our focus is on the media’s essential role in supporting democratic elections in the face of disinformation, declining trust in media, and the intimidation of, and violence against, journalists.
As Nigeria has just witnessed its 6th uninterrupted general elections since the return to democracy in 1999, our topic “Reporting for Democracy: The Role of a Free Press in Elections,” is an apt one.
In a democracy, the press operates freely from government control. Democratic governments don’t regulate media content or the activities of journalists. Democracies don’t require journalists be vetted by the state or force them to parrot government positions.
In return, news media must provide people with the accurate, verified, and factual information they need to wisely choose their leaders, to develop their voice, and to maintain their freedom.
The media is a powerful influence on how an election is run in a country, and how it is perceived from the outside. Without a free and vibrant press, a nation cannot fully develop itself as a strong democracy.
During the panel discussion, this gathering will have the opportunity to examine the role of the Nigerian press in the 2019 elections. For this, I want to thank the panelists who will share their experience and address your questions.