The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) has transmitted a “Letter of Appeal” to President Muhammadu Buhari over the attacks on media houses in Lagos on October 21, 2020 during the #ENDSARS protests in which the premises of Television Continental (TVC) and other media houses were burnt down.
The Commission’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King, disclosed this at the ongoing 67th Ordinary Session of the Commission in her inter session report which she presented at the session.
Although Commissioner King did not disclose details of the letter which she sent to President Buhari on behalf of the Commission, she said she transmitted the letter on October 27, 2020 to President Buhari “regarding an attack which was perpetrated on a number media houses in Lagos, Nigeria, on 21 October 2020, by unidentified individuals who set the premises of Television Continental (TVC) and other media houses on fire, resulting in the loss of media equipment and damage to vehicles.”
She called on African governments to prevent attacks on journalists and investigate any form of attack on them whenever they occur, describing their role as indispensable in society.
Commissioner King noted that, “Journalists and other media practitioners play an important role in guaranteeing the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. They provide the public with the necessary information to develop an opinion and to take informed decisions.
“However, in spite of their indispensable role in society, journalists are often targets of threats, intimidation, harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention, disappearance, in addition to physical attacks, which have sometimes resulted in murder.”
The Special Rapporteur recommended that governments must “take the necessary measures to prevent attacks on journalists and, when they do occur, investigate them, punish the perpetrators and ensure that the victims have access to effective remedies.”