FG: Stop gagging the press- Media freedom

Nigeria as a country has a long and unpleasant history of press gagging and clampdown on media freedom, which is evidence of extensive state censorship of media and in some cases, the utter control of state-owned media houses.

As the international community marks the World Press Freedom Day, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) have urged Nigerian authorities at all levels of government to “stop using repressive and anti-media laws such as the Cybercrimes Act and some codes of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to target, intimidate and harass journalists, critics and media houses.”

The statement followed the interactive session on ‘the state of press freedom in Nigeria’ held today at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja. The event was jointly organized by SERAP and NGE to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

“We urge state governors to ensure that security agencies, the Nigeria Police Force and other authorities drop all charges against journalists, bloggers and other media workers, and critics, and cease further arbitrary closures of radio and television stations.”

“We urge state governors to publicly support and commit to the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of expression, access to information and the media freedom, including public reporting of sensitive political and other issues within their states.”

“We urge state governors to ensure that any government or security officials found responsible for obstructing, abusing, or attacking journalists, critics or media organisations are appropriately disciplined or prosecuted.

The statement, read in part: “We would continue to speak truth to power and to hold authorities to account for their constitutional and international obligations including on freedom of expression and media freedom.”

Meanwhile the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has praised all traditional and social media citizen journalists for playing the watchdog role in the management of the country’s affairs despite opposition from the government.

He made this known via a post on his X handle, said: “#WorldPressFreedomDay, I join the rest of the world to celebrate the work of all traditional and social media citizen journalists as well as other media professionals who work on behalf of Nigerian citizens to expose truths, even in the face of government adversity”

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