Group calls for reduction in attacks on journalists
Agroup, Media Rights Agenda, has called on the government to adopt and implement policies aimed at curbing attacks on journalists.
It also sought for diligent prosecution of perpetrators of such attacks, while discouraging future attacks.
MRA made this call in a report titled ‘A profession endangered: An analytical report on the safety of journalists in Nigeria.’
It highlighted a variety of attacks faced by Nigerian journalists in the course of carrying out their professional duties, including assault and battering, arrests and detention, shutdown of media outlets, raids on media organisations and facilities, confiscation or destruction of work equipment, and abductions, among others.
The body explained that the report aimed to find solutions that ensure the safety of journalists at all times, particularly in the face of shrinking civic space in Nigeria.
It said there were sustained attacks on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom while successive governments and law enforcement agencies had failed to take meaningful steps to address the situation.
The situation, it added, had significantly affected the ability of the media to provide the public with accurate and reliable information.
The report, which was produced with the support of the Africa Freedom of Expression Exchange, a continental network of the most prominent African freedom of expression and media rights organisations, documented cases of attacks on journalists and the media in Nigeria between January 2017 and May 2019.
It stated in part, “In all cases of attacks against journalists in Nigeria, there is no evidence of any diligent effort made by security and law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute perpetrators; the perpetrators invariably commit these crimes with impunity as they go scot-free without any repercussion for their actions.”
MRA’S Programme Director, Ayode Longe, said: “It has become imperative that we call attention to this ugly trend of attacks against the media because of the negative effect especially when government is doing nothing to address the issue.
“We have consistently made the point that when attacks on the media go unpunished, perpetrators are emboldened and journalists are silenced in many ways.
“Invariably, the public is denied vital information that they would ordinarily be able to obtain through the media and which might be critically important for decision making on many different levels.”