Media Rights Agenda, MRA has called on the Federal Government to launch stern and transparent investigations into all unresolved cases of murders and attack on journalists in Nigeria.
MRA made the call in a press statement issued in commemoration of this year’s International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists.
Edetaen Ojo, MRA’s Executive Director stressed that it is imperative for the Nigerian government to fulfill its international obligations by investigating cases of murder and attack on journalists in the country.
He said, “the federal government must fulfill its international obligations by launching a serious and transparent investigation into all unresolved cases of murders of journalists.
“Since the 1986 assassination of the former Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Dele Giwa, numerous journalists have been killed in the country and in none of these cases have the perpetrators been identified, tried in court, convicted and punished for their crimes.”
Mr. Ojo also observed that over the years, there have been hundreds of other cases of attacks on journalists, other media workers and media facilities which have not been seriously investigated and for which the perpetrators have not been prosecuted and punished.
According to him, “Over the last one month, we have witnessed attacks on journalists and media organizations in such numbers, with such intensity and brazenness never before seen in our recent history. While the government’s track record of respect for and protection of media freedom has never been remarkable, events in the past few weeks indicate an escalation in the attacks against the media that is extremely concerning.”
Mr. Ojo argued that the Government’s lukewarm attitude towards attacks on the media, even when government officials or security agents are not the perpetrators, is not only unhelpful to international efforts to combat impunity for crimes against journalists everywhere, but also constitutes an abdication of responsibility.
He contended that although journalists and media organizations are the immediate and primary victims of such attacks, given the important role that the media play in society, including in advancing democratic culture and practice, the ultimate losers are Nigerians in the wider society as most of them would remain ill-informed and even more susceptible to fake news, misinformation and disinformation.