Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Amnesty launches press freedom campaign, says Nigeria becoming harder for journalists

Amnesty launches press freedom campaign, says Nigeria becoming harder for journalists
January 24
14:45 2019

Amnesty International (AI) has launched a campaign “to ensure the freedom of expression in the country”.

While launching the campaign in Abuja on Thursday, AI also called on the federal government and other state actors to give journalists the freedom to carry out their duties.

Osai Ojigho, Amnesty director in Nigeria, said the campaign was necessitated by the incessant clamp down on freedom of information and expression in the country.

At least four journalists were arrested in Nigeria in 2018, with several reported cases of harassment and intimidation.

Two have already been arrested less than a month into 2019, with security forces raiding offices of a national daily.

“The clampdown by Nigerian authorities on the press, including by raiding media organizations and arbitrarily detaining journalists, is having a chilling effect preventing people from freely expressing themselves,” Ojigho said.

“There is an increasing climate of fear across newsrooms in Nigeria as it becomes harder for journalists to do their job. More and more, the authorities are responding to critical reporting with arrests, raids and intimidation.

“Journalists are coming under attack in Nigeria, facing increased risks simply for publishing articles and demanding accountability from the authorities. This is totally unacceptable. The authorities must immediately put an end to the hostile environment journalists are facing.”

Ojigho said the new campaign on press freedom is to “encourage and support the rights of everyone to express and disseminate his or her own opinion within the confines of the law”.

“We are therefore calling on the Nigerian authorities to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression,” she said.

“Journalists and other media professionals must be free to investigate, report and broadcast on issues of human rights and public interest.

“Furthermore, the authorities must immediately stop peddling hostility towards them and refrain from attacks against them and silencing dissenting voices. No one should be punished for asking questions or expressing their opinion.”


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