By Aderogba George
The International Press Centre (IPC), Nigeria, has joined the global community to raise concerns about press freedom violations, stressing the need for stakeholders’ collaboration to safeguard its freedom.
The IPC made the call in a statement by its Communications Officer, Olutoyin Ayoade, on Tuesday, to mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day.
The centre urged the Federal Government to respect its commitment and uphold the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights.
The International Day is a day to reflect on issues of press freedom and professional ethics as well as to support journalists and other media professionals, who are often the targets of attacks on press freedom.
The centre expressed worry over 40 documented incidents of press freedom attacks on 49 journalists in 2021 alone.
The organisation stated that since 2020, it had identified over 100 journalists and other media professionals who had been victims of surveillance, spying, harassment, threats, violence, assaults, battery, unlawful arrests, jailing, robberies, kidnappings, and suspected murder.
It noted that these acts were allegedly committed by state governments and their agencies, Department of State Services, Rapid Response Squad, Police Officers and state Police Commands.
Others it stated were the Nigeria Police Intelligence Response Team, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), unknown gunmen, hoodlums, private organisations among others.
Taking into account the theme of this year’s World Press Freedom Day: “Journalism Under Digital Siege,” the Executive Director of IPC, Mr Lanre Arogundade, called for adequate measures against attacks on press freedom.
According to Arogundade, the prevalence of press freedom infractions in the country indicates that there is now an urgent need for media stakeholders to jointly identify and develop sustainable solutions.
“This, including raising the standard of safety of journalists and media freedom in Nigeria.
“The reality is there is little or no justice or even compensation for the victims, while the perpetrators go scot-free, we must therefore all work together to fortify the safety of journalists and media professionals,” he said.
Arogundade said that to promote the conversation, IPC would on May 11, launch two documentaries which would highlight IPC’s interviews with journalists and other media professionals.
The interviewees, he said, would be victims of brutal press freedom violations during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown and the #ENDSARS protests.
According to him, the public presentation of the documentaries will be followed by a round table on protection for journalists during national crises or emergencies.
“Panellists and participants will include media practitioners, media organisations, media professional bodies and associations, press freedom organisations.
“It will also include media and digital rights organisations, security bodies, government representatives, lawyers, judiciary representatives, human rights activists and human rights organisations,” he said.(NAN)