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We’ll review laws that restrict press freedom –Reps

The House of Representatives has promised to engage the media in reviewing laws and practices that restrict press freedom and the ability of the media…

The House of Representatives has promised to engage the media in reviewing laws and practices that restrict press freedom and the ability of the media to carry out their constitutional role in the country.

House spokesman and chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Akin Rotimi Jr, said this in a statement on Friday issued to commemorate the 2024 World Press Freedom Day and celebrate the Nigerian mass media.

He said the House of Representatives acknowledged the Nigerian media as one of the most vibrant institutions in the country and remained steadfast in support of press freedom as well as a healthy and democratic media environment.

“In this regard, we are working to engage the media in reviewing laws and practices that restrict press freedom and the ability of the media to carry out their constitutional role”, he said.

He said the House celebrated and honoured the work of every journalist and media practitioner across the country as they eexercise their duty of upholding the fundamental objectives contained in the constitution, as well as, upholding the responsibility and accountability of government to the people.

He said, “The theme of this day which says ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of the Environmental Crisis’ alludes to the critical role that journalists play in creating necessary awareness at a time the world is battling some of the worst impacts of climate change.

“Our country, Nigeria, is not excluded from this fight, since it is now ranked as one of the most vulnerable to climate change. This is reflected in the numerous issues we encounter, including flooding, drought, food insecurity, erosion, harsh weather, and even conflicts caused by resource shortages and struggle.

“Millions of Nigerians turn to the media for answers and explanations in the face of these terrible and ever-changing circumstances. Hence, the media needs to accept responsibility and rewrite the story to make the main reason for these problems clear to the public.

“Amongst other initiatives, ample reporting on the complex reasons of conflicts brought on by climate change and other environmental effects will enable people to grasp the larger picture and the best ways to address the issue.

“As outlined in Agenda 6: Inclusion and Open Parliament of our Legislative Agenda (2023 – 20277), we are also enhancing good governance practices, transparency and accountability through media chats, public hearings, townhalls, etc., amongst other scheduled legislative actions.

“Furthermore, we seize the opportunity of this important day, to call on journalists and media practitioners across our country to uphold responsible, independent, and fact-based journalism as it helps in protecting our democracy. Let us uphold responsible use of digital media and embrace the journalistic values of trust, truth and integrity at all times.”

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