Media stakeholders under the auspices of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) has called on the federal government to review or repeal all repressive provisions in the nation’s relevant laws and policies.
The stakeholders also insisted on the government addressing the issue of press freedom as the core of the nation’s political, economic and development agenda.
These were contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day symposium on: Election 2023, Security, Media and Safety, held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Some of the offending provisions, the communiqué, signed by all the participants, noted, are cybercrime and terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act; section 17 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges Act) 2017; Section 22 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Act.
The communiqué, which asked for the provision of a national policy to safe-guide press freedom and ensure the safety of journalists, wants the maintenance of journalists’ violators register to be published at regular intervals, saying: “this would discourage many, especially public office holders, from violating the rights of journalists.”
The stakeholders, according to the communiqué, would organize capacity-building workshops for journalists on media laws and ensure the transfer of knowledge between generations through mentorship.
“Young journalists need to know that they are not celebrities. Too many times, they put their lives at risk by behaving like celebrities and social media influencers.”
They also pledged to look into the academic and educational sector, to make sure that Mass Communications and Journalism departments of educational institutions are in tune with times, and appealed to media veterans who already have experience to dedicate some time to bringing up the next generation of journalists.
Some of those who signed the communiqué, which starts operating immediately are representatives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUG), Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), Human Rights Lawyers (HRL), HEDA Resource Centre; International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Centre for Collaborative Investigative Journalism (CCIJ), Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), PlusTv Africa and others.