By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
A Paris-based American journalist, Eduardo Cue has said that the importance of press freedom on coverage of election in democratic settings cannot be over emphasised.Speaking at a forum organised by the Public Affairs, US Mission in Lagos yesterday to mark the annual Press Freedom day, Cue explained that since adequate information was crucial during elections to guide the people to make their choice of leadership, giving the media freedom of information desemination would go a long way in deepening democracy across the world.
According to him, press freedom would allow journalists to play their roles of “provoking discussion and dialogue with a view to find lasting solution to problems in the society,” pointing out that, by exposing societal ills, it would establish their existence and their help in finding collective solution to them.
If the ills were hidden by the media, Cue said “it would keep the ills going in such a way that a section of the community would be unjustly suffering in silence, reminding that, “part of the role of journalists is to give equal opportunity to those who don’t have voice to also be heard so that an avenue to bail them out will be created.”
He warned that under no circumstance should any journalist be partial by becoming a mouthpiece of political party to the detriment of the others, asserting that, “his role include creating avenue to redress injustice in the society.”
In his vote of thanks at the event, the president, Guild of Editors’ (NGE)Mr. Femi Adesina, who led Nigerian political writers to the parley said the event was timely and rewarding.
Adesina, who is also the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Publishing Company said “the lecture is food for thought,” saying, “it came at an important time when Nigeria is preparing for elections.”
While confessing that, “the event has shaped our minds and our profession as journalists,” Adesina played Oliver Twist by hoping that “more of this can come up to prepare us ahead of the coming elections in the country.”
The facilitator of the event, Dehab Ghebreab, informed that celebrating Press Freedom Day has become a yearly affair at the American Consolate in Nigeria through which topics that are beneficial to the host country is tabled for discussion.