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Nigeria Runs the most Vibrant Democracy in Africa With Absolute Press Freedom – EU

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Michel Arrion

Michel Arrion

Michel Arrion, Ambassador and Head of European Delegation to Nigeria, has commended the country for running the most vibrant democracy in Africa with absolute press freedom.

Arrion made the statement at the 2016 World Press Freedom Day celebration with the theme, “Access to Information and fundamental freedom: This is your right,” in Abuja on Tuesday.

He described the freedom the Nigerian media enjoyed as an asset, adding that freedom of opinion and expression was essential in enjoying a wide range of other human rights.

Arrion added that these significant steps underlined the priority the EU accorded to freedom of opinion and expression as an essential foundation for democracy.

He said that the EU recognised that free, diverse, independent media were essential for the promotion and protection of freedom of opinion and expression.

“By facilitating the free flow of information and ideas on matters of public interest, and by ensuring transparency and accountability, independent media constitute one of the cornerstones of democracy,” he said.

According to him, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is not possible without free, independent and pluralistic media

He lauded the role of social media activists in deepening public discourse, shaping public opinion and promoting transparency and accountability in the country.

Arrion said social media had thrown up new challenges, adding that all human rights that existed offline must be protected online in terms of freedom of opinion, expression and right to privacy.

“Nigeria, in our assessment is a country where freedom of expression is in general respected, the traditional media is relatively pluralistic, bloggers and cyber activists share their views. Nigeria boasts of a large, vibrant social media community, whose engagement with the social-political processes has enriched public discourse and widened the frontier of participation on issues that concerns the citizenry.”

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, said freedom of information was good for Nigerians.

He said that the mechanism for its operation was simple, stressing that the Freedom of Information (FOI) Law had succeeded in creating accountability and probity in governance.

The minister said it had enable Nigerians to participate in governance and hence it had succeeded in curbing corruption.

“Nigeria has free and independent press and they are now more comfortable with the press.”

He called on UNESCO to ensure that the right of information was enhanced and protected in Nigeria and promised that the government would put machinery in place to ensure that the FOI was not abused.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

11 Comments

  1. nene+

    May 4, 2016 at 8:36 am

    All thanks to Jonathan on FOI bill

    Don’t be jealous you are free to thank the masquerades who wanted to scuttle the freedom.

    • ElessarisElendil

      May 4, 2016 at 8:53 am

      The Nigerian press was vibrant long before Jonathan. They were so tough even Lord Lugard wanted to move the capital to run from them. Next you’ll want us to thank Jonathan for allowing us to breathe. Haba.

    • nene plus fan

      May 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Elessaris who dash Nigeria freedom of info before now.
      You fell into the trap nene plus set for your kind.
      When Buhari was around in 80’s your forefathers couldn’t talk to shut the f up.

    • Sylvia

      May 4, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Gosh! You’re always so confident in your ignorance. You should read the FOI bill and find out what rights it confers on you as a Nigerian citizen. Yes, that bill was signed by Good luck Jonathan. Even though it was proposed by Abike Dabiri during the Obasanjo tenure, Obasanjo refused to sign it because of its contents, Yar’ Adua also refused to sign that bill. That bill is the reason journalists and even citizens like you can critisize the government without fear of being intimidated, harassed or even imprisoned. If you face any of the above from the government for criticizing it, you now have a right to sue.

    • NA wah

      May 4, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Does it always have to be Jonathan vs Buhari? There is freedom of information in Nigeria and it a good thing “full stop”.

    • Uberhautelooks.blogspot.com

      May 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm

      Of course it does. Let’s praise Jonathan once in a while. Nor be everyday bashing.
      That was why we had less assassination and arrests during Jonathan /Yaradua Administration

    • Jade

      May 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      The military regime was no free press. May Nigerians never relive those times. But then, my parent say the 70’s-80’s was a great era in terms of decent economy, fashion and music. So, I guess most Nigerians were not as involved in the government as they are now and not aware of how corrupt the country was. The press became extremely free starting from Obasanjo time. Infact, that’s when Nigerians found that they can insult their president anyhow without getting arrested….lol Obasanjo is the only president Nigerians freely insult, abuse, and are so critical of. Everybody keeps quiet when it’s a northerner in power. What Jonathan added was too much freedom where you can embezzle, steal, transfer money with no account for anything. Almost an anarchy government. Diezani, you are next in trial.

    • Vanessa

      May 6, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Obasanjo imprisoned a lot of journalists, get your facts right.

  2. Nnamdi

    May 4, 2016 at 9:29 am

    That I will agree. More press freedom in Nigeria I think started getting better during late yaraduwa administration I will say around 2007. It’s Good the rest of the world are taking notice.

  3. Prince

    May 4, 2016 at 10:36 am

    That’s total truth but Naija can overuse things.

  4. ElessarisElendil

    May 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    You people praising Jonathan for our vibrant press, demean the sacrifices of all the journalists that actually died fighting for that press freedom.

    He merely legalised the status quo, didn’t invent it.

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