By Frederick Peters, KADUNA.
NEWSDAILYNIGERIA -The Nigeria Union of Journalists,(NUJ) has maintained the need for Press freedom as the Panacea and cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions in Nigeria and the world over.
Speaking the National President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo said it is only through Press freedom that the citizenry can be mobilized to hold their leaders accountable thus speaking truth to power at all times.
He disclosed this during an Address at the NUJ 2020/2021 press Freedom Awards Press Conference At the National Secretariat Abuja on Wednesday, where he further said the forthcoming Award ceremony is in recognition of Journalists/ Media organizations for their invalauble contribution to Press Freedom,saying
” You will recall that the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lock down for a greater part of 2019 prevented us from hosting of the Press Freedom Awards last year. This was after winners of the awards in different categories had emerged. This year’s edition of the Awards will therefore be a combined edition of 2020 and 2021 Press Freedom Awards.
” Press Freedom Awards celebrate the important principles of press freedom, defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
According to him,” Press freedom is an indispensable pillar in the architecture of any democracy. No democracy can thrive without citizen’s adequate access to transparent and reliable information. Press freedom is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions. Press Freedom is a catalyst in the mobilisation of the citizenry to hold their leaders accountable as well as promotes speaking truth to power.
” The press is the fourth arm of government and recognised so in the 1999 Nigerian constitution as amended. It is the duty of the press to hold government and citizens accountable at different levels. It will be disservice to humanity for any government at any level to undermine the freedom of the fourth estate of the realm.”
He maintained that ” Many journalists in Nigeria have faced harassment, threats, physical injury, imprisonment, and even death in the course of discharging their legitimate duties. It is the courage and sacrifice of these journalists that we are celebrating by organising the third and fourth editions of the 2020/2021 Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Freedom Awards. The event will also honour media owners, corporations, political and public office holders who have actively supported press freedom in Nigeria.”he added