A 2021 press freedom report has revealed that the media industry recorded seven unresolved killings, 300 violations and abuses, affecting 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses since 2015 under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The report, released on Wednesday in Abuja by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said that this development is of major concern as journalists and media organisations are targets of attack by both protesters and government.
The Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right (CASER), Barrister Frank Tietie, while presenting the report, said that this development is unexpected as it only brings back unpleasant memories of the long tenure of military rule and the established culture of intolerance against the media when Nigeria recorded its most grievous crimes against the industry.
He said: “The nation is witnessing actions that seek to undermine the journalism profession by both state and non-state actors.
“Nigeria is fast gaining notoriety for its failure to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists including
“For example, in 2017, four journalists were killed in separate incidents with no credible inquiry yet to find the culprits and their motive for the fatal attacks.
“The four were Ikechukwu Onubogu, a cameraman with the Anambra Broadcasting Services; Lawrence Okojie of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in Edo State; Famous Giobaro, a desk editor with Glory FM in Bayelsa State and freelance broadcaster, Abdul Ganiyu Lawal in Ekiti State.”
The body noted that clamping down on the media was a sign of weak democracy and a restive government and it is instructive to note that a free and open press is part of the bedrock of democracy and development, and these should be encouraged and sustained.
Speaking earlier, the president of the NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, decried the incessant attack on journalists in the country.
According to him, the safety of journalists goes beyond killings and physical assault but also include the absence of arbitrary arrests, resorting to exile to escape repression, harassment as well as destruction and confiscation of equipment and premises.
On his part, the chairman, NUJ, FCT Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, called for more collaboration to ensure that freedom of the press is guaranteed in the country.
He also said that the union would continue to support the fight against all forms of violence against media practitioners in the country.