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CDD: Nigeria has retrogressed in promoting press freedom

CDD: Nigeria has retrogressed in promoting press freedom
May 03
18:23 2019

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), says Nigeria has retrogressed in its rating in promoting press freedom. 

CDD made this statement while congratulating journalists on the occasion of the world press freedom day.

In a statement signed by Idayat Hassan, its director, CDD said the world press freedom day is an opportunity to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under article 19 of the 1948 universal declaration of human rights.

“In the past few years, evidence suggests that Nigeria has further retrogressed in its rating of promoting press freedom,” the statement read.

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“Nigerian journalists and media companies have been a subject of harassment, arbitrary arrest, threat, physical violence and assault mostly by the security forces.

“Even, despite the existence of Freedom of Information Act (FoI), journalists are always denied access to information by government officials. Since 2015, the country continued to maintain a top position in the ranking of countries with high cases of abuse of press freedom.

“In the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, Nigeria is rated 120th which marked an increase from 111th position in 2015. In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the country’s ratings were 116th, 122nd and 119th respectively.”

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Citing cases of brutality against journalists, the organisation said events clearly show an attack on freedom of speech and the media.

“Many a journalist has been arrested and charged under the 2015 Nigeria’s cyber-crime act and anti-terrorism law for allegedly defaming and harassing top government officials.

“Most brazenly was freezing of journalists’ accounts to frustrate and traumatize them into complying to their (security forces) bidding. Rash invasion, confiscation of properties and unlawful closure of media houses were also obvious attempts to cow journalists from objective reporting of government activities and holding them (government) accountable.”

“During the 2019 Nigeria general elections, many journalists were attacked and, in some cases, killed.

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“The gruesome experience during Kano State during the 2019 supplementary governorship elections that witnessed barefaced assault and harassment of journalists in Gama Ward of Nasarawa LGA, amongst others, typified a disruptive state of press freedom in the country.”

CDD called on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the constant attempt to intimidate and undermine press freedom in the country.

It also asked the government to immediately order the release of detained journalists and media executives, held captive for doing their job and proper investigation into the murder of journalists and attacks on media houses in the country.

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