The Federal Government of Nigeria has been advised to create an enabling environment for media practice in the country to flourish.
The advice was given by a coalition of media advocacy organizations in Nigeria under the aegis of the Partnership for Media and Democracy in Nigeria (PAMED), at its workshop in Lagos to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday, April 3, 2017.
In a communique issued by PAMED, which is made up of the Institute for Media and Society (IMS), the International Press Centre (IPC), and Media Rights Agenda (MRA), it noted that the legal and policy environment for the practice of journalism in Nigeria was not conducive, adding that there was an urgent need to address the issue to prevent journalists from becoming endangered species in Nigeria.
The group expressed worry over the abysmal state of media freedom in Nigeria, noting that Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans Frontières RSF), the Paris, France-based freedom of expression organization has ranked Nigeria 122 out of 180 countries in its 2017 World Press Freedom Index released on April 16, 2017.
PAMED described the situation as appalling, noting that the government’s non-challant attitude to investigating attacks on journalists and bringing perpetrators to justice has fueled impunity by perpetrators.
PAMED said from the murder of Dele Giwa on October 19, 1986 till date, no perpetrator in all the murder cases involving journalists in Nigeria has been apprehended, tried or brought to book as virtually all of them have gone free.
It also observed that the shooting to death at his residence of Mr. Famous Giobaro, a Desk Editor with the Bayelsa State owned Glory FM 97.1 in the early hours of April 16, 2017 by unidentified gunmen, was the latest in a series of such incidents.
PAMED further described the murder as tragic saying that the perpetrators of this heinous act may also never be found or brought to justice.
PAMED called on the government to make a public commitment to fully implement the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity to stem the ugly tide.
The communique was signed by the trio of Dr. Akin Akingbulu, Executive Director, Institute for Media and Society (IMS), Lanre Arogundade, Director, International Press Centre (IPC) and Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda.