2023 Elections: Sanwo-Olu charges media on high-level professionalism

• Urges press to shun fake news, malicious reports, hate speech

• As outstanding journalists receive NMMA merit awards

As the 2023 general elections draw nearer, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged Nigeria media to exercise a high level of professionalism and commitment to the ethics of the profession.

He appealed to media practitioners to discard fake news, malicious reports, hate speech, and any act that can derail Nigeria’s democracy and divide the country.

The Governor made the appeal at the 30th anniversary of the Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA) held at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Sunday.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who was the Chief Host at the NMMA 30th anniversary where awards were presented to outstanding print and broadcast journalists in about 40 categories, urged the media not to shy away from showcasing Lagos State and Nigeria in good light.

He said: “Let me use this opportunity to lend my voice to the appeal by well-meaning compatriots to the media on the need to exercise a high level of professionalism and commitment to the ethics of the profession, especially as the 2023 general elections draw near.

“Even as the media holds powerful institutions to account, you must also reserve some of this scrutiny for yourselves, and ensure that there is no room for bad eggs and those who seek to bring a noble reputation into disrepute.

“The times we are in call for great circumspection, and great fidelity to the timeless principles of journalism; accuracy, fairness, balance, integrity. Your standards must never be lowered for anything, and definitely not in this age in which social media and the Internet enable the easy amplification of fake news and malicious reports, and hate speech, intended to give undue political advantage or to divide societies and derail democracy.

“I urge the media to continue to not shy away from showcasing Lagos State and Nigeria in good light, highlighting and projecting our social, economic, and cultural opportunities and potential, as we strive to attract more domestic and foreign investment into our economy, and position ourselves on the global stage.”

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who has received over 20 outstanding awards as Governor of the Year in many categories from different media organisations in the last three years, said his administration will continue to provide the enabling environment for media practitioners in Lagos State to thrive.

“On our part in Lagos State, we will continue to give our unflinching support to the media by being at the forefront of promoting and enabling press freedom, as well as taking steps to make our government more transparent and accountable to the people of the State and the world at large.

“Our administration is committed to providing good governance and dividends of democracy and we definitely would require the partnership and collaboration of the fourth estate of the realm as we proceed on this journey.

“Lagos and the NMMA indeed share something in common; we have continued to live up to the expectation of our founding fathers and we are both determined to set new standards of excellence and break new grounds,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu commended all the awardees for being found worthy of the prestigious award in different categories, adding that the “Award is a call to greater and more dedicated service, an encouragement to higher achievements through the power of your pen.”

He also congratulated the Board of Trustees and the management of Nigeria Media Merit Awards for “sustaining the vision and ideals of this platform, as conceived by the founding fathers, who would all be proud of the giant tree that the modest seed of yesterday has grown into.”

Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees and management of the NMMA, Prof. Olu Obafemi, commended Governor Sanwo-Olu for his exemplary leadership and outstanding performance in Lagos State in the last three and half years of his first term in office.

“The Board of Trustees and the entire management of NMMA are happy with what you are doing in Lagos. We appreciate you and thank your State. We urge you to continue to perform well to deliver the goods and services in the State and to continue to be an exemplar of great works,” he said.