By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The 2018 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders has uncovered State Governors across the country as Media’s most determined prosecutor’s, acting with complete impunity.
The Co-ordinator of Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Mrs. Sekyen Dadik who gave the revelation in her speech while briefing journalists at the commemoration of 25th World Press Freedom Day with the global theme: ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’ in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria on Thursday said the 2018 index also pegged Nigeria at 119/180 from 122 in 2017.
According to Mrs. Dadik, there is no doubt this has becomes a threat to investigative reporting and any form of in-depth reporting as she remembered the 79 journalists assassinated worldwide in 2017 and also stand with journalists who were attacked or threatened in the cause of contributing towards a just, informed and enlightened society.
She commended the tenacity of African Journalists who have against all odds of intimidation, poor or no remuneration remained watch dogs of the society, saying their steadfastness must be recognized and upheld.
Mrs. Dadik, however believed that for any development goals to be achieved and sustained, the media must be strategically positioned, hence the need for the media to be equipped so it can contribute meaningfully to the development discourse.
The Co-ordinator called on all and sundry; especially those in authority to support in creating a favorable atmosphere for journalists to thrive in their profession without fear and intimidation.
“The 2018 Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders pegs Nigeria at 119/180 from 122 in 2017. It revealed State Governors as Media’s most determined prosecutor’s, acting with complete impunity.
“This no doubt becomes a threat to investigative reporting and any form of in-depth reporting.
“We therefore call on all and sundry; especially those in authority to support in creating a favorable atmosphere for journalists to thrive in their profession without fear and intimidation.
“AMDF strongly commends the tenacity of African Journalists who have against all odds of intimidation, poor or no remuneration remained watch dogs of the society. This steadfastness must be recognized and upheld.
“This year’s global theme: ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’ is apt as it highlights the gains of an enabling legal environment for press freedom and the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists.
“The theme which also addresses the role of media in sustainable development especially during elections as a watchdog for fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law is no doubt a call for Nigerian journalists to reflect on their role in defending and preserving Nigeria’s democracy.
“The link between the Media, Judiciary and Rule of law remains critical to the overall development of any nation. While the media creates demand for transparency, accountability, and the rule of law, the judiciary must ensure every form of impunity against journalists becomes a thing of the past.
“As the nation prepares for the 2019 general elections, the media must ensure the electoral process is conducted transparently and with respect for rule of law.
“AMDF uses this opportunity to reiterate its commitment in promoting press freedom and enhancing the knowledge and skills of journalists so they can be effective in the pursuance of sustainable development.
“Journalists indeed deserve to be recognized and celebrated because carrying out their mandate of informing, educating and enlightening the public in most cases have been a daunting effort. In spite of the sacrifices put in, journalists have remained exposed to all kinds of threats.
“In view of this, World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991 in response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.
“UNESCO notes that the day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered” she ended.