World Press Freedom Day: IPC hold forum on Information as Public Good, the Quest for Press Freedom in Nigeria

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By Joy Odor

The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos says it will mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD), with a two-part event starting with a webinar held last week’s Thursday April 29, 2021, on ‘Safety, Security and Management of Trauma in Coverage of Dangerous Assignments’.

On Wednesday May 5, 2021, IPC, in partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Nigerian Guild of Editors, the Radio, Television Theatre and Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) and other stakeholders, will convene a forum on ‘Information as Public Good and the Quest for Press Freedom in Nigeria’ in Abuja, FCT.

A statement by IPC’s Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said both events are pursuant to the theme of the year 2021 WPFD – ‘Information as Public Good’.

“Year 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Windhoek, Namibia, Declaration on an Independent and Pluralistic African Media which led to the decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as adopted by the UN General Assembly to declare May 3rd as WPFD.

It is this significance that has informed our decision to organise series of events to commemorate the milestone including two webinars and the stakeholders’ forum”, Mr. Arogundade explained.

50 journalists from the three Northern geo-political zones who applied and were selected will participated in thursday’s capacity building webinar at which international and Nigerian experts will make presentations on ‘Safety reporting and the challenges online and offline’; Safety best practices in the investigation, coverage and reportage of dangerous assignments including pandemics’ and ‘Managing stress, trauma and other psychological/ mental health challenges in the coverage of pandemics and crisis situations’.

The experts include Gillo Shedir of the International Freedom of Exchange (IFEX), Mr. Fisayo Soyombo, a writer and investigative journalist and Dr. Uzo Isreal, lecturer and Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the University of Lagos.

The second capacity building webinar for journalists in the southern geo-political zones will hold within the next two weeks.

At the Abuja May 5 event, IPC will present its annual report on the documentation of attacks on journalists in Nigeria while there will be a roundtable discussion on “Information as A Public Good and The Quest for Press Freedom” with Rev. Fr. George Ehusani as the lead Speaker.

A panel of five comprising representatives of media professional bodies, the civil society and the bar will serve as discussants.

The Abuja forum is expected to fashion a road map on improved mechanisms for the defence of press freedom in Nigeria.

The webinars and the stakeholders’ forum are being respectively supported by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) and the Open Society Foundation (OSF) under IPC’s safety of journalists and enhanced safety awareness programmes.

 

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