By Sam Jones, Yenagoa
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The International Press Centre (IPC) has called for the commitment of governments to the demands of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Socio-Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the safety of journalists around the world commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI). https://sundiatapost.com/ipc-trains-journalists-on-fact-checking-ahead-bayelsa-imo-kogi-guber-polls/
IPC, in a statement signed by its Communication Officer, Olutoyin Ayaode, on Thursday also demands urgent investigations into unresolved killings and attacks on journalists as three states head towards off-cycle governorship elections on November 11.
“To commemorate this year’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria is calling for urgent but thorough investigations into the documented cases of crimes against journalists so that perpetrators can be held accountable,” the statement said.
IDEI is observed yearly on November 2nd to pay tribute to journalists killed in the line of duty and raise awareness of the dangers of impunity for crimes committed against journalists. https://sundiatapost.com/2023-ipc-moves-for-inclusive-general-elections-presents-media-monitoring-report-tomorrow/
The theme for this year’s event is Violence Against Journalists, The Integrity Of Elections, And The Role Of Public Leadership which emphasize the Three Ps which are Policy, Processes and Public Awareness.
IPC says Nigeria should take the lead in guaranteeing the safety of journalists at elections and while covering other assignments so that the country would not continue to rank poorly on global press freedom indicators.
It affirms that the threats to journalism and press freedom are alarming on the grounds of the numerous monitored and documented incidents of attacks against journalists which has worsened in the past decade and largely remains judicially unresolved.
IPC said its Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (ICSPJ) has recorded 29 cases of attacks involving thirty-nine 39 journalists across the country, including attacks on at least 12 journalists covering the February 2023 general elections.
It disclosed that the journalists and other media professionals were also subjected to harassment and intimidation.
According to IPC, the nature of attacks include imposition of fines, physical assault, harassment, deleting of pictures, unlawful arrest, detention, intimidation, denial of access to polling units to cover electoral process, molestation, threat to life, abduction, damage to vehicle, sporadic gunshot and explosion.
It named the persons and groups allegedly responsible for the attacks as the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), political thugs, military officers, police officers, angry youths, alleged gunmen, security operatives, kidnappers and duty bearers.
The Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade in a statement said: “Frequent attacks on journalists discourages the media from performing its core functions at elections, especially providing credible information to enable the people to make informed choices.
His words: “The fight to end the entrenched culture of impunity for crimes against the media, requires a multi-stakeholder approach, this is why IPC along with other media support and media professional groups as well as other stakeholders including the civil society, have for some time spearheaded the campaign for the establishment of a national mechanism for the safety and protection of journalists in Nigeria”.
Mr. Arogundade called on the Tinubu administration to take urgent measures to comply with regional and international frameworks on safety journalists, which UNESCO says should revolve around the three Ps of: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
He enjoined the security and the law enforcement authorities to accord high priority to the safety of the Journalists who would be on duty during the off-cycle governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States on November 11.
Mr. Arogundade however enjoined the journalists to take responsibility for their own safety by adhering to election reporting safety advisory for journalists by IPC and the Nigeria Media Code of Election Coverage.