On Monday May 3, 2021, the Management and staff of Ika Weekly Newspapers, joined the media Professional/Groups across the world to celebrate the World Press Freedom Day as declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
The celebration as we know is an annual event held on the 3rd of May. It’s among other objectives meant to act as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly, World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom. It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in the pursuit of stories.
“The theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day is, “Information as a Public Good”. This year’s theme among other intentions underlines the indisputable importance of verified and reliable information. It calls attention to the essential role of free and professional journalists in producing and disseminating this information, by tackling misinformation and other harmful content.”
Here at Ika Weekly Newspaper, this year’s celebration offered the publisher Mr. Steve Ashien and the rest of us (editorial board, management and staff) a great opportunity for a deeper reflection on how the Newspaper has fared, and impacted on Ika nation for the close to two decades of information dissemination flagship in Ika Land and as one of the best community newspapers in the State.
Looking back, all that comes to mind is but expression of gratitude to God, our numerous stakeholders-our Vendors, suppliers, advertisers, intellectual contributors, traditional rulers and public office holders. You are the reason why we have remained in this business.
Still in the spirit of the celebration, it is the newspaper’s views that we all graduate from the present position to becoming active information managers.
This celebration calls for the development of willingness and zeal to holding those in public offices accountable. We must as a people not forget that we were all born into question so called settled answers and provide answers to unsettled societal questions.
To perform this function well, we must remember that on 28 May, 2011, Nigeria’s former President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Freedom of Information (‘FOI’) Act (the ‘Act’). With the coming into force of the Act, every person now has a legal right of access to information, records and documents held by government bodies and private bodies carrying out public functions.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides public access to information held by public authorities. It does this in two ways: public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and. members of the public are entitled to request for information from public authorities.
It will also interest all to know that for request to be dealt with according to the Freedom of Information Act, one must; contact the relevant authority directly; make the request in writing, for example in a letter or an email; give your real name; and; give an address to which the authority can reply.
These should be a little beginning that will on the long run help build a better, greater and healthier Nigeria where peace and love shall reign supreme.