World body, NGOs urge leaders to defend media, provide enabling environment

United Nations general secretary Antonio Guterres. PHOTO: .<br />JOSE MANUEL RIBEIRO / AFP

The Secretary General of United Nations (UN), António Guterres, has called on world leaders to protect journalists as they go to dangerous places to give a voice to the voiceless.

According to Guterres: “Media workers suffer character assassination, sexual assault, detention, injuries and even death. We need leaders to defend a free media. This is crucial to counter prevailing misinformation.

“We also need everyone to stand for our right to truth. When we protect journalists, their words and pictures could change our world.”

The UN Secretary General said there was an urgent need to end all crackdowns against journalists, because only a free press could advance peace and justice for all.

Also, a coalition of media advocacy organisations, Partnership for Media and Democracy in Nigeria (PAMED), has called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for media practice in the country.

The coalition made the call in a statement by the Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Director, International Press Centre (IPC), Lanre Arogundade and the Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Edetaen Ojo.

They noted that the legal and policy environment for journalism practice in Nigeria was not conducive, hence the urgent need to address the issue of freedom to ensure the safety of journalists.

PAMED lamented the abysmal state of media freedom in the country, noting that Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières RSF), a France-based freedom of expression organisation recently ranked Nigeria 122 out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index released on April 16, 2017.

The coalition described the situation as appalling, stating that the government’s nonchalant attitude to investigating attacks on journalists and bringing perpetrators to justice had fueled the impunity by perpetrators since they were never brought to justice.


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