The Nigeria has recorded attack on 160 journalists in the country within a period of two years, with investigation revealing that the police, thugs and political figures were responsible for most of the attacks.
Penpushing reports that, the data was contained in a report prepared by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) press freedom project and collated cases through the Press Attack Tracker, a civic technology tool designed to track and report attacks on the press.
The report has it that the other aggressors are civilians, the State Security Service (SSS) and security aides, explaining that the tool provides a data-driven advocacy response to the continued repression of the media through physical attacks, arrests and detentions, unconstitutional legal proceedings, repressive laws, and cyber attacks amongst others.
Penpushing further reports that, the centre disclosed that, the report shows that the North-Central zone witnessed the highest number of attacks and that the phenomenon is present in the other five geo-political zones.
“It is unsurprising, considering that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the seat of power, is in this zone. The reality is reflected in a deeper look at the cities with the highest volume of attacks, with the FCT hosting 73 per cent of all attacks in the region’.
‘This is likely a pointer to the government’s attitude towards the freedom of the press and its constitutionally guaranteed rights to hold the powerful to account’, the data stated
Penpushing reports that, the Project Executive, Press Freedom at Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism(PTCIJ),Stephaine Adams said the report aims to challenge the legality of the laws that constrain press freedom so that journalists can carry out their duty without restraints.
The Project Coordinator said it also highlights the poor condition of press freedom in Nigeria and how the institutions created to protect citizens are ironically the main perpetrators of attacks on journalists, adding that, “it shows the systemic and continued attack on journalists and media houses,” .
Penpushing further reports that, National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Cgris Isiguzo, speaking on the findings said, “one major challenge we have is that a good number of people out there masquerading as journalists are in the real sense not journalists and a good number of them who have always put themselves in harm’s way are not our members and do not understand what the code of ethics means.”
“However, that is not a justification for any clampdown on the media or on practitioners. We have always come out to condemn it because it is unacceptable to us; it simply means that political/state actors are yet to come to terms with the unique role of the media in a democratic setting. Some still believe that they are still operating in a draconian system where clamp down was the order of the day.”
The number one journalist in the country added that the union will continue to engage with state actors like it has always done, for them (state actors) to come to terms with this fact.
“As a union, we will not continue to fold our arms and watch this unnecessary clamp down on the media because if you want democracy t thrive, you must have respect for freedom of the press, free speech which is very critical for the survival of democracy,” he said.
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