U.S to support Nigeria’s democratic institutions

Zubairu Mohammed, Abuja

The United States of America has concluded plans to support and strengthen Nigeria’s democratic institutions as well as enforce basic human rights.

The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle stated this at the US Embassy in Abuja during an event to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

Ambassador Entwistle said that Press Freedom was very important in any democratic society.

 “An independent media helps satisfy the public’s need to know about events affecting their lives. Through a free media, people let their governments know their opinion on policies and actions. Dialogue between the government and the governed is most effective in an environment where all feel free and safe to express their views”, he said.

The US Ambassador also explained that “the United States continuously works to advance media freedom around the world through bilateral engagement, public diplomacy, and multilateral diplomacy”.

The World Press Freedom Day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom.

And to also be a reminder that in many countries around the world publications are censored, fined, suspended and close down. While journalists, editors, and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

World Press Freedom Day is a day celebrated with the fundamental principles of the press, to evaluate their freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

It serves as a remainder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to the press freedom, and it is also a reflection among media professionals about issues of their ethics.

“I know that you’re not going to give up and I have great confidence in the future of press freedom and the commitment of journalists of every description to go out and find the truth and report on it no matter where they are and what the resistance and no matter how stark the danger, no matter how many efforts are made to shut you down”. Secretary Kerry at the Journalist Security Conference, January 2015

The World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) was jointly established in 1991 by UNESCO and the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI), in the framework of the conference held in Windhoek, Namibia.

The conference which gave rise to Windhoek Declaration, emphasised the idea that press freedom should be understood as necessitating pluralism and independence for the mass media at large.

Since then, the World Press Freedom Day has been celebrated every year on the 3rd of May.

Nnenna.O