April 20, 2024

International Day to End Impunity: NUJ Request Security Of Journalists Ahead Of 2023 Elections

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has called on federal and state governments to as a matter of urgency; critically address the issue of safety and security journalists directly ahead of the 2023 general elections.

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The Union worried that this has become vital in view of the fact that journalist on elections duty are regularly open to attacks, intimidation and harassment by political actors and agents across the states of the federation.

In a press statement issued and signed by its National Secretary, Mr. Shauibu Usman Leman, as part of the activities marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalist, advised the federal and state governments to put the issue of safety and security of journalists on the importance list.

Part of the statement reads, “we join the rest of the World in marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, with an urgent appeal to the State Governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria to put the issue of safety and security of Journalists on the priority list. They should ensure that attacks against Journalists are properly investigated and culprits made to account for their crimes.

“The issue of safety and security must be tackled squarely ahead of the election year 2023 when Journalists that cover elections are routinely exposed to attacks, intimidation and harassment by political actors and Agents of the State.

“We have observed over the years the way and manner in which Journalists suffer various acts of reprisals for their critical reporting in the country. Many Journalists have faced physical assaults and their equipment destroyed in the process, while female Journalists have been sexually harassed.

“The Union insists that Journalists should be accorded unfettered access to perform their professional responsibilities at all times, because this is necessary in order to promote accountability and openness in governance.

“We call on Government Authorities in particular to remove all forms of bureaucratic red tape that continue to deny journalists access to certain areas, and conditions that do not promote freedom of the media and the rule of law. The result of not doing this is that journalists are prevented from covering certain areas inside the country while others engage in self-censorship to avoid being harassed by Government and its Agents.

“The usual manner the government had always defended its actions as reasonable response to unethical practice by Journalists is trite argument that should not be pursued in a democratic setting and we encourage the Nigerian Government to promote free and independent media in the Country. It is pertinent to actively engage in protecting the independence and safety of journalists, as a crucial component in the proper democratic functioning of institutions in the Country.

“While the Union will continue to call for an end to unethical acts by professional journalists and all acts that could hinder the democratic  process, we urge for caution and tolerance towards media professionals and media equipment as the Nation moves closer to 2023 general elections.”

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