President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the co-founder and publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, Dapo Olorunyomi, on his achievement as one of the four awardees for year 2020 International Press Freedom Award, by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
Mr Olorunyomi wins the CPJ award along with three other journalists from Bangladesh, Iran and Russia.
They all have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their reporting, before now.
“Like brave and committed journalists everywhere, CPJ’s honorees set out to report the news without fear or favor for the benefit of their communities, their country, and the world,” said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director.
Mr Olorunyomi, during his decades-long career as a journalist, has been a fierce defender of press freedom in Nigeria, despite repeated government harassment.
He was arrested twice before having to go into hiding in 1995, and more recently he was arrested alongside a colleague in 2017 when police raided the PREMIUM TIMES’ office on allegations of defamation.
In the congratulatory message to the journalism icon, Mr Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Saturday, said the honour attests to Mr Olorunyomi’s many decades of commitment to the ideals of journalism and freedom of the Press.
“Democracy and a free Press are kindred spirits, and that is what we have committed to as a government. It is, therefore, gratifying to hear of this award to one of our own”, he said.
He also advised the publisher to “use the occasion of the award to recommit himself to all that is noble, fair and just in journalism, adding that a responsible media is part of the building blocks of a country.”
Mr Buhari said “a free and responsible Press remains an abiding commitment of the Nigerian government, and urges the media to adhere to the finest tenets of the noble profession at all times.”
In the same view, the former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, while congratulating Mr Olorunyomi said his courage in speaking truth to power via the instrumentality of journalism is needed more.
“Congratulations, publisher @PremiumTimesNg, @DapsyOly for your well-deserved 2020 International Press Freedom Award. Your courage in speaking truth to power via the instrumentality of journalism is needed more than ever as the democratic space in Nigeria is being constrained,” he wrote on Twitter.
The U.S. mission in Nigeria, while reacting to the news on Twitter, said PREMIUM TIMES publisher dedicated his life to hold power to account.
“Congrats to Dapo Olorunyomi, the Publisher of the Premium Times, for winning the 2020 International Press Freedom Award. Olorunyomi is being honored for dedicating his life to holding the powerful to account and his fierce advocacy for press freedom. Well Done Dapo!!
The co-founder of AllAfrica News, Reed Crammer also congratulated Mr Olorunyomi.
“Congratulations to friend @DapsyOly – media legend & pioneer & co-founder @PremiumTimesng (@allafrica collaborator) – recipient 2020 International Press Freedom Award from CPJ @pressfreedom. May this honor generate much-needed support for his vital work!
@A_Salkida: It is so well deserved. In the light of the upsurge of official harassment of journalists on trumped up charges not excluding terrorism, @DapsyOly provides leadership to journalists like me and several others across #Africa. Congratulations, sir!
@kan_uzo: Congratulations Dapo. Together, we need to liberate this country and move it to the top amongst civilised nations
@UCJ_UI: Congratulations to our Patron, Dapo Olorunyomi @DapsyOly on the 2020 International Press Freedom Award presented to him by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
@stateDRL: We congratulate Dapo Olorunyomi, co-founder, CEO, and publisher of Nigeria’s Premium Times on his 2020 CPJ Press Freedom Award. Olorunyomi faces official harassment as a result of his fierce advocacy for #PressFreedom. https://t.co/Uv2vpa7aev
@YN_Magazine: Congratulations to @DapsyOly Dapo Olorunyomi. This is an award well deserved.
@nikkyah: A huge congratulations to Premium Times @PremiumTimesng Publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi as he wins 2020 International Press Freedom Award.
Mr Dapo Olorunyomi was named alongside three other journalists: Shahidul Alam… https://t.co/xir68QIkpN
@busola_ajibola: This isn’t surprising given @DapsyOly’s numerous visionary interventions that have set Nigeria’s media on the right track.
Yet, it’s heartwarming that your service to humanity is being acknowledged. You, a living legend & an embodiment of inspiration.
@olorunwababs: Congratulations our own Dapo Olorunyomi (@DapsyOly), honored with @pressfreedom’s 2020 International Press Freedom Award. Those who follow me know how much I talk highly of him. Cheers to many years of impacts sir.
@vanguardafrica: Huge congrats to one of our founding advisory council members, Dapo Olorunyomi (@DapsyOly), one of this year’s International Press Freedom Award recipients.
As founder and publisher of #Nigeria’s @PremiumTimesng, Dapo has been a staunch, unbowed defender of democracy. Well done!
@geofreyyork: Congrats to Dapo Olorunyomi (@DapsyOly), co-founder and publisher of the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times, who is one of 4 recipients of the CPJ International Press Freedom award today. Arrested multiple times in his career; a fierce defender of press freedom.