Political Scientist and Media Scholar, Prof. Ayo Olukotun has said Nigerian media despite its high level of vibrancy and robustness is one of the most repressed in the world.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum on Journalists’ Safety and Press Freedom Limitations in Nigeria organized by International Press Centre (IPC) in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation (OSF), Prof. Olukotun said it is imperative to speak against the repression of the Nigerian media.
“The freedom we used to enjoy is deteriorating and unless we cry out now, it may be too late to cry,” he added.
Calling on the media to hold the government accountable, Prof. Olukotun said, “the media should facilitate advocacy for horizontal accountability amongst actors in governance to complement vertical accountability that has already acquired robust momentum from platforms of the civil society.
“In the bid to sustain the clamor for genuine democracy and good governance, the media must fine-tune public advocacy that connect and resonate with actors in governance as a way of rediscovering the golden era of Nigerian media which is in tandem with defending the truth, democracy, and constitutional mandate of the journalism profession,” he added.
Earlier, during the presentation of the findings of a survey on Safety of Journalists and Press Freedom in Nigeria, Mr. Francis Abayomi, the coordinator of the survey explained that, “the survey became necessary in furtherance of the quest for enhancing capacities and professionalism of journalists through deployment of informed interventions that address safety concerns as well as foster security of journalists and media professionals.”
Mr. Abayomi disclosed that the key findings of the survey revealed that press freedom in Nigeria is encumbered by individual and collective safety challenges for journalists which has had negative impacts on the journalism profession.
He thereafter called for improved synergy of activities between media NGOs and media professional groups to address the concerns relating to safety of journalists.
On his part, Dotun Oladipo, President, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), urged journalists to always protect themselves in the course of their duty as they are largely exposed to danger.
Also, Alhassan Yahya, Vice President Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) Zone E, representing the NUJ President, Chris Isiguzor, emphasized that NUJ would do everything possible to strength the insurance policy for journalists.