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International Press Centre Decries Fresh Attacks On Journalists

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – International Press Centre (IPC) has expressed concern over the renewed spate of attacks on journalists including those covering the primaries by political parties in Nigeria.

lPC is a not-for-profit, non-governmental and independent media resource centre. Though based in south western Nigeria its activities cut across the West African nation. It coordinates activities on freedom of expression, opinion and thought and freedom of the press.

Established in October 1999 as a component of the Media-for-Democracy (MFD) In Nigeria project initiated by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in partnership with Article 19 (the International Freedom of Expression group), Reporters San Frontiers (Reporters Without Borders), West African Journalists

Association (WAJA) and three Nigerian media groups: Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Independent Journalism Center (IJC) and Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER).

In a statement made available to the media on Thursday, IPC said its Safety of Journalists Alert Desk has documented series of recent attacks, which include the shooting by the Police of Toba Adedeji, the Osun State Correspondent of The Nation newspaper while covering a protest over alleged police brutality in Osogbo, the state capital on Tuesday, May 31, 2022. He was injured on the thigh and had to be treated in hospital.

The organization also cited the attack, harassment and beating by Policemen of Yinka Adeniran, the Oyo State Correspondent of The Nation newspaper while covering the People’s Democratic Party’s gubernatorial primary at Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan on the May 25, 2022.

It equally mentioned the attack by suspected political thugs on the vehicle conveying members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Osun State Council of NUJ on May 24th, 2022 while covering the campaign by the State Governor in Gbogan in Aiyedaade Local Government Area as well as the arrest of three journalists – Deborah
Coker of News Agency of Nigeria, Sunny Inarumen of African Independent Television and Osamuyi Ogbomo, cameraman with Independent Television on May 24, 2022 in Benin, Edo State Capital, while covering a factional primary of the People’s Democratic Party.

IPC said it has therefore become an urgent imperative for the leadership of the security agencies to enlighten their officials on the need to accord respect to journalists covering events of public interest and refrain from assaulting them.

Press Freedom Officer of IPC, Mrs. Melody Lawal noted that the attacks represent a return to the regime of repression of journalists and other media professionals in Nigeria, adding that such development constitutes grave danger for press freedom and freedom of expression.

“We condemn the attacks and demand the apprehension and trial of the alleged perpetrators so that justice can be served”, she said.

Making specific reference to the attacks on journalists on electoral duty, she said political parties need to be reminded that the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage requires them to grant access to journalists interested in covering their activities including primaries, while taking measures to protect them from aggrieved party members or political thugs.

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