2023: SMI calls for clear action on journalists safety

By James Shim

A non-profit organization known as Safer-Media Initiative (SMI) has called on security agencies to urgently and clearly show their plan of action on the safety of journalists ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The SMI also said it has become imperative and incumbent on government authorities to investigate and convict the perpetrators and sponsors of attacks and killings of journalists.

This formed part of the press release from SMI, signed by Peter Iorter, Executive Director/CEO, Safer-Media Initiative, to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, in Abuja Wednesday.

The release which called on the judiciary to provide and sustain a definite measure of defense against those who breed impunity, stated that there was an urgent need for the National Assembly to, not only begin a process to strengthen the laws that promote media freedom, but to also provide protection for journalists.

The SMI further disclosed that it was seeking justice for all slain  journalists in Nigeria and paid tributes to the tenaciousness, braveness and sacrifices of journalists, who in their day-to-day work of information dissemination to uncover injustices, expose corruption and hold authorities to account are being attacked, harassed, unlawfully detained and even killed mysteriously for doing their constitutional duties as members of the fourth estate of the realm.

The release said “on our part as a creed, what we must uphold at any cost is to remain resolute and committed to the struggle to ending impunity for crimes committed against journalists in Nigeria.

“We essentially and precisely want to draw attention to the menaces that journalists across the country struggle with and the growing culture of impunity for crimes against journalists in Nigeria, especially over the past years.

“The recent case in Zamfara State where media houses were illegally and arbitrarily shutdown by the state government is one example of the litany of incidences including where many journalists were brutalized, their cameras, mobile phones and other valuable work tools destroyed. Such trends of attacks have continued unabated.

“This explains why Nigeria is ranked 129 out of 180 countries listed in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index prepared by the Paris based organization, Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

“In 2015 Nigeria ranked 111 out of 180 countries examined, with the 2022 ranking seven years after, the country went into a slump, dropped by 18 places.

“For us, this current ranking in a year preceding the general election calls for attention as intimidation from politicians and their supporters has been attributed as part of the reason for this sharp drop.”

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