Recognizing the vital importance of a free press and ‘the fourth Estate” to democracy and good governance, the U.S. Embassy and the Nigerian Guild of Editors co-launched today in Lagos the first of six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops that will take place across the country in the next several months. The capacity-building program will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices, and to also hear from U.S. experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public.
Delivering keynote remarks at the opening program in Lagos, U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strengths: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself. When the citizenry’s belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, invariably they will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.
Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”
General Secretary Nigerian Guild of Editors, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions to “Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”
The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the U.S. Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the Nigerian Guild of Editors. The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a public diplomacy grant from the U.S. Embassy in Abuja to the Nigerian Guild of Editors. In addition to Lagos, the programs will take place in Kano in January 2022, Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
The U.S. government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria. For years, the U.S. Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, a free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement. Webinars, seminars, workshops, and U.S. based training opportunities such as the International Visitor Leadership Program and Foreign Press Center International Reporting Tours demonstrate our commitment to the proud partnership that we have long enjoyed with Nigeria.