The Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere has felicitated with the Media as the world observes World Press Freedom Day, describing the Mass Media as the fourth estate of the realm and indispensable ally in national development.
Prince Madumere’s statement was contained in a press release signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Uche Onwuchekwa.
Prince Madumere described the theme of 2016 World Press Freedom Day, which is “Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms – This Is Your Right! ” as apt as it is one of the key factors that engender development while keeping leaders and public office holders in check.
He averred that the Mass media should be seen as partners following their vital role in information dissemination and educating the masses on Government programmes, policies and updates in developments around the world. He therefore called on Government functionaries to freely relate with the journalists and attend to their needs and enquiries so as not to create erroneous impression and suspicion.
He also decried violent actions against journalists, which he said has led to the unfortunate deaths of members of the profession. He regretted that in 2015, about 72 journalists were painfully killed in the course of their legitimate duties.
He however commended Governor Okorocha for his liberal democratic ideals, which has made Imo State a model State for others to learn from. He recalled that during past administrations, people were hounded for criticizing the State government. He further described Imo State then as a State in state of fear where the only certainty was uncertainty as newsmen who criticized the government lived in fear because of intimidation, molestation and wanton violent attacks.
He also disclosed that Owelle Rochas Okorocha in demonstration of his belief in freedom of the mass Media and the masses has giving room for appraisal of his administration through constructive criticism.
He reminded the public that it is because of Rescue Mission’s philosophy of freedom that Governor Okorocha constructed freedom square where people freely visit to vent their dissatisfaction on any government policies or programmes with free Media coverage, the new culture he said has not only made Imo people a more democratically conscious people but has become a mirror with which the government appreciates the impacts of its programmes and policies.
Prince Madumere also called for understanding on the part of the media when issues boarder on national security or on enduring effort on the part of the government to achieve a desired goal for the ultimate goal of making life better for her people rather than send out skewed information that could stir up misunderstanding and chaos.
While thanking the Mass Media for partnering with the State in its programmes, he assured them of continues government support. He also called on the regulating agencies to fish out quacks so as to give the profession its rightful place as a respectable force in the country’s effort towards achieving sustainable national development.