Press Freedom Day: Stake holders differ on Press Freedom as Group beckon on Journalists safety
By Edward Etuka
As the World marks this year’s World Press Freedom Day,a former Commissioner of Information in Bauchi State,Hon.Tasiu Mohammed has posited that the media in Nigeria is independent and it is free from government suppression.
The media stakeholder spoke exclusively to EAGLE EYE NEWS24,according to him despite the sensational reportage of some section of the news media in Nigeria, the president Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration in Nigeria has granted press freedom to the media.
“We have not heard of any instances where the press is being subjugated in Nigeria today. Instead we find so many cases were some uninformed press men will just seat under a mango tree and report on a very sensitive issue like insecurity, discrediting what the security agencies and government is doing in Nigeria”.
Responding on the issue of the Freedom of Information (FOI),the All Progressives Congress chieftain applauded the Buhari led government, he said that the bill was accented by the present administration. Adding that the Bill is just an attempt to aid the press to have unhindered access to information.
He further advised the media on its reportage of pre-election matters as the 2023 electioneering process is ongoing.
“We need the press at this critical moment of our democracy in order to assist the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)in terms of voter education and other political issues.
Secondly,the press needs to be factual on its reportage of election results especially as it concerns announcement of results as prescribed by the NBC and other regulatory agencies”.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has said the inalienable right to access and disseminate information through an independent press is under attack, and called for protection of the media.
The professional group of all the editors in Nigeria also said while the threat to media freedom in Nigeria is real, the impact on the state of democracy in the country will be very dangerous, if not checked.
NGE made the points in a statement by its President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, on Monday, to mark the World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every May 3.
According to the editors, “Today is a day to remind governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.
“It is also a day of reflection among journalists and other media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
“We need to remind governments at all levels in Nigeria that a free and independent media that can keep the people informed and hold leaders accountable, is essential for a strong and sustainable democracy, including free and fair elections.
“Without it, Nigerians cannot make informed decisions about how they are governed; and address human rights abuses, corruption and abuse of power.”
Similarly the Gobal Center for Media and Human Empowerment (GCMHE)has lambasted the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for trying to muscle the Nigerian press through the instrumentality of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission(NBC)with its obnoxious laws which is aimed at silencing the power of the press.
The human and media advocacy group made this known to newsmen in Jos on Tuesday through its Acting Director-General Charles Ejoh.
“We need to inform Nigerians today as the world marks the World Press Freedom Day that the Nigerian media has undergone differs form of subjugation in the hands of the president Muhammadu Buhari led APC government. They have used different strategy especially the NBC to tame various broadcast organisations which has sometimes resulted to some of these outfits being fined arbitrary even the social media is not also spared”.
The GCMHE further use the occasion to advised media outfits on how to navigate the various threats to the endangering of journalists and journalism in Nigeria and globally.
The group also use the opportunity to commiserate with the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ)Plateau State for the unfortunate incident that happen to some of its members in Quaapan LGA of the state when hoodlums attacked its journalists and destroyed their vehicle.
“We sincerely commiserate with the NUJ Plateau State on the unfortunate incident that happened to its members in Quaanpan local government area of the state and the destruction of their vehicle. The GCMHE also urge the Plateau State government to immediately replace the vehicle and make it as part of its responsibility to avail security personnel on the entourage of Journalists whenever they embark on such important assignment due to the worrisome security challenge in the country”.
EAGLE EYE NEWS24 reports that this year’s World Press Freedom Day 2022, with the theme for the day “Journalism Under Digital Siege”is intended to highlight the multiple ways in which surveillance and digitally mediated attacks endanger journalists and journalism, according to the United Nations (UN) information page on the event.
The observance of World Press Freedom Day reminds governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom, according to the UN. The day further serves as an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom around the world and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.