The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on governments at all levels in Nigeria to take urgent measures to create a safe and conducive environment for journalism practice in Nigeria, both online and offline.
It noted that the rising spate of uninvestigated attacks against journalists in recent years undermines the government’s obligation to protect media practitioners.
This was stated in a statement signed by the Communication Officer, Mr. Idowu Adewale, to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) titled “Journalism Under Digital Siege”.
In his words, Mr. Adewale argued that human safety and security, as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, should underpin any national cyber security effort.
According to him, where the government or its security agencies plan to engage in targeted communication surveillance, such action may only be carried out within the framework of a law that conforms to international human rights law and standards, upon a specific and reasonable suspicion that a serious crime has been or is being carried out, and after the prior authorisation of an independent judicial authority has been obtained.
Mr. Adewale called on the government to put an end to the practice by security agencies and regulatory bodies of interfering in different ways with the rights of individuals to seek, receive, and impart information or communicate with others through any means of communication and digital technologies, such as by blocking or otherwise intentionally disrupting access, saying such actions constitute a violation of international human rights law and standards.
He said besides refraining from engaging in any such intentional disruption of access to the Internet and other digital technologies, the government’s international human rights commitments also impose an obligation on it not to condone any such action by other actors, including private companies and criminal groups.