Remarks by His Excellency the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq at the 2020 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kwara State Council, on November 4, 2020 in Ilorin, Kwara State.
I begin this short remarks by fully aligning myself with patriots across Nigeria who have condemned the recent attacks on the media in different parts of the country especially during the recent ENDSARS protest. Nothing can justify violent attacks on anyone, much less the media which is doing a lot to not only deepen our democracy through its role as the watchdog of the society but to also ensure that we read balanced and verified accounts of events in an era of fake news, alternative truth, and ‘cancel culture’.
It is on this note that I congratulate the Correspondents’ Chapel on the occasion of its Annual Press Week 2020. I sincerely commend you for the good job you are doing for our society. Our administration will at all times act in favour of the media because of its robust contributions to our democracy and national security.
I believe that the guest lecturers are eminently qualified to do justice to the topic of discourse, which is the “Effectiveness of party supremacy in strengthening democratic principles and promoting national development.”
My take, however, would be to further encourage the media to continue to uphold the ethics of the profession which include balance, fairness, and truth. I also urge you to remain committed to national cohesion and security. This adherence to the ethics of the noble profession is what sets you apart from ‘emergency journalists’ on the social media who have no regard for truth or balance.
Also, I urge the media to vigorously fight fake news. The events of the past few weeks have shown us the danger of fake news and unverified or one-sided accounts of events. We saw how fake news almost brought down our country as mobs descended on various public and private facilities. That the media was not spared in the melee underscores the fact that fake news and its purveyors constitute existential threats to everyone. There is therefore a need for all of us to face down this threat before it is too late.
Equally important is for the media to rise against the ‘cancel culture’ now spreading across the social media space. Suddenly, we are having an army of people who regard their own opinion as final on any issue. Anyone who disagrees with their opinion must be mobbed or taken down at all cost. This is akin to fascism and must be stopped before it is too late. Democracy recognises multiplicity of opinions and the right of every citizen to hold a contrary view without being haunted for it. I urge the media to join the campaign to discourage this new threat to democracy and free speech.
Once again, I congratulate the Correspondents’ Chapel for this event and I thank you all for listening.
God bless you!
Governor, Kwara State.
November 4, 2020.