VP defends Nigerian media freedom
Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo has spoken about the challenges faced by the country’s media at a forum marking the 50th birthday of top journalist Kadaria Ahmed.
Speaking at the forum, held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on Victoria Island in Lagos, keynote speaker Osinbajo addressed the audience on the topic ‘A Conversation on Media Renewal in Nigeria.’
Commending the Nigerian media for contributing to the movement and development of the nation since colonial days, Osinbajo said: “The democracy we enjoy today would not have been possible without the guerrilla efforts of some of our finest and most irrepressible journalists.
“The Nigerian press is and has always been one of the most vibrant in the world. You can always take it for granted that no matter the intensity of the clampdown on press freedom in Nigeria, there will always be a prominent group of journalists who will refuse to be cowed, and will seize every tool at their disposal to hold the authorities to account.”
He then went on to note the challenges and drawbacks in the media industry that journalist face, highlighting the lack of innovation and vision as well as poor financial provision.
Osinbajo noted that the media’s response to technological advancements and innovations has been slow and it must do well to reinvent itself to overcome declining sales.
He added that the media is not spared from the corruption affecting the nation, saying: “The Nigerian contemporary press is caught up in a crisis of confidence. The faith in the media is at all-time low because faith in all things in the country is at all-time low.
“The crisis of corruption is systemic and every institution is infected. Justice can be bought so headlines can also be bought. Wherever you find a judiciary that is poorly paid, you will find a judiciary that is compromised. The same applies to the media – a poorly paid journalist should not be expected to be ethical.”
After his speech, the VP joined other dignitaries, including Hajiya Hadiza El-rufai, Dr Wale Babalakin and John Momoh, to present Kadaria Ahmed’s scholarships and book.
With over 20 years of experience in media, award-winning Kadaria Ahmed is one of Nigeria’s top journalists. She started her career at BBC before moving on to become an editor of the now defunct Next newspaper. She was also a presenter of Straight Talk on Channels Television.
She is currently one of the board members of Premium Times and also hosts The Core on Channels Television.