Nigeria: Amnesty International Wants End to Attacks On Media Practitioners in Nigeria

24 January 2019

Amnesty International Nigeria has called for an end to the intimidation of media practitioners by the Nigerian authorities at all levels.

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, made this call on Thursday, in Abuja at the launch of freedom of expression campaign of the organisation.

She said: "We are launching this campaign to stand with journalists and other media practitioners who are committed to truth and human rights.

"We are therefore, calling on the Nigerian authorities to respect and protect the right to freedom of expression.

"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.

"The Nigerian authorities must ensure that journalists and other media professionals can carry out their job and operate without fear of reprisals.

"The authorities should uphold the rule of law and respect, protect and fulfil human rights as well as fully implement in practice the Freedom of Information Act (2011)."

Ojigho also called on journalists and other media professionals to stand united and be courageous in protecting the right to freedom of expression.

She pointing out that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Nigeria had ratified as well as the country's constitution conferred the right to freedom of opinion and expression on everyone in the country.

However, the Amnesty boss lamented that despite these legal backings, Nigerian authorities had intensified their clampdown on the press, including raiding of media organisations and arbitrarily detaining journalists, adding that it was preventing people from freely expressing themselves.

"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," she stated.

On her part, the campaigner of Amnesty International Nigeria, Esther Ikubage, said the organisation was launching the campaign as a response to the attacks and the stifling of press freedom that journalists particularly are facing across the country.

"We are launching this campaign to encourage and support the rights of everyone to express and disseminate his or her own opinion within the confines of the law and the right to receive information."

She disclosed that the "Press for Freedom" campaign will run for a year.

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