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Stakeholder’s Move Against Threats To Safety Of Journalists In Nigeria

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Participants at a one-day stakeholder’s roundtable in Abuja on Wednesday, reiterated the need to create strategic actions aimed at mitigating the various threats to the safety of journalists in Nigeria.

This is coming amidst general violation of press freedom of expression and the shrinking of the civic space in the country.

The meeting tagged, “Stakeholders’ Roundtable on National Mechanism on Safety of Journalists in Nigeria”, was organized by the International Press Centre (IPC).

The event which was facilitated under the project dubbed, “Contextualising and Publicising Real Costs and Mobilising Against Increasing Violation of Media Freedom, Journalists Rights and Freedom of Expression”, brought together twenty-five participants from civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, the media, media associations and regulatory bodies, among others.

In a communique issued at the end of meeting, the participants unanimously agreed that it is imperative to establish a National Response Mechanism, (NRM) to address the issue of safety in the Nigerian media ecosystem.

They also observed that the idea of a national response mechanism on safety of journalists in Nigeria should rest on the four pillars emanating from the UN Plan of Action on safety pf journalists including Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnerships.

The communique stated that there should be wide engagement and consultations with stakeholders who may have important roles to play in the proposed NRM including but not limited to the Federal and state governments, media regulatory bodies, the Directorate of Information of the security and defence agencies, non-state actors such as civil society groups and relevant professional bodies, the bar and the bench, media professional bodies and associations and the National Human Rights Commission.

It was suggested that the national response mechanism should be guided by comprehensive legislative framework on protecting the right to life, freedom of expression and associated rights. This, according to them, should be regularly reviewed to ensure that the safeguards and enforcement machinery it provides are robust and effective in practice.

The participants also noted that the NRM should secure the buy-in of the law enforcement agencies and for redress and protection mechanisms for journalists who may be victims of harassment or assault

They equally recommended that there should be special consultation with the National Council of Women Societies, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), and Ministry of Women Affairs on the specific dangers and harassment faced by female journalists particularly when on the frontlines.

The participants further suggested that in outlining the mandate of the NRM ,consideration should be given to investigations into killings, attacks, and ill-treatment of journalists, which must be prompt, effective and impartial, and subject to public scrutiny.
It was also agreed that there should be sensitisation and awareness-raising on the necessity for the NRM.

At the forum, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, the Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), delivered a paper entitled, “Establishing National Response Mechanism on Safety of Journalists: An Examination of Global Trends”.

On his part, Mr. Mojeed Musikilu, Editor-in-Chief/Chief Operating Officer of PREMIUM TIMES Nigeria, and President, Nigeria chapter of the International Press Institute (IPI), also made a presentation entitled, “Response Mechanism on Safety of Journalists: Experience and Lessons from Engagement with Security Agencies and Government”.

The follow-up discussion was done under the overarching framework of the necessity to give effect to the six thematic areas of the United Nations Plan of Action on the safety of journalists incorporating Raising Awareness; Standard Setting and Policymaking; Monitoring and Reporting; Capacity Building; Research, and Coalition Building.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=80905

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