Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu has lauded the media for its contribution to the development of democracy in Nigeria.
He further stated that the media has stood as a beacon of hope for the Nigerian masses.
Delivering a lecture titled; “Press Relationship in a Democracy”, during the 2012 press week of the state chapter of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at The Aguiyi Ironsi Conference Centre, Umuahia, Oko Chukwu said the media has remained unshaken in its commitment and determination in creating a model for social peace and change and democracy in Nigeria.
“The media has been an integral part of the machinery of government, especially in a democratic setting; and cannot be toyed with,” he declared.
The Speaker advocated that freedom of the press to publish should be for the benefit of the society. “The media should be socially responsible in its reportage. Deliberate attempts at misinformation, character assassination must not be condoned. The media should be aware that it is the voice of the voiceless; the weak and needy. It should not only be fair, but seen to be fair in all that it does,” he said.
He further charged the media to be alive to its responsibilities of being a watchdog; a role which he submitted would promote good governance of the society.
Oko Chukwu who is also a Vice Chairman of the Conference of Speakers lamented the stress journalists went through in the past as some of them were harassed while their newspaper houses were proscribed for carrying out their duties.
He lauded the media for their excellent coverage of the activities of the state legislature, adding that the House would continue to partner with relevant stakeholders in a bid to make people oriented legislation.