Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has charged journalists to be fair and impartial in their reports, saying there’s no democracy without a free press.
Oshiomhole spoke when he received the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, led by its President, Comrade Waheed Odusile, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City on Thursday.
Governor Oshiomhole said: “Let me welcome you to Edo and let me congratulate you, this being our first meeting after your election as the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, which is one of the most potent affiliates of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
“The role of the media is very clear. We can’t have democracy without free press; the people’s right to know all sides of the story even as they say facts are sacred, opinion is free.
“I pray that God guides you to continue to provide inspiring leadership drawn on your many years of experience as a practising journalist and help your members to stay committed and stay focused on informing, educating and even entertaining the Nigerian people which I understand are the three pillars of journalism.
“The impartiality of the media will be brought to the test, and this is where the much talked-about or proverbial fact that is shared by all, namely, that facts are sacred, opinion is free. The pen can be mightier than the sword when there is a strong bond between the pen and the truth, but when the pen deviates from the truth, it can become as week as the mushroom.
“In moments like this, this is when we need the courage to speak the truth and stand on the side of democracy and of our nation. I believe you have every reason to be proud of the professionalism demonstrated at least by the mainstream media.”
Earlier, Odusile had said: “Journalists working in Edo State, members of our union, I must confess, have spoken very well about you. Also, we felt that as members of the same labour family, we cannot sneak into Edo without seeing the pillar of labour in Nigeria who is the Comrade Governor of this State. We can’t also come here without saying a few words about your activities that we have noticed.
“As you are rounding off your tenure, we felt that we should give a brief reportage of our own observation of your administration in Edo State.
“From what I have seen, experienced and heard, definitely, Edo has been better for it since you became governor of this state. Even the blind can see that things have changed for the better. Like I said, we are not surprised because that is part of your trademark in the Nigerian Labour Congress.”