NGE orders N’Assembly for better deal for journalists – Nigeria – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

No press freedom, democracy sick in Nigeria, claims HURIWA

As today marks World Press Freedom Day 2024, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has reaffirmed that freedom of the press, expression and access to public information are crucial to democracy, and must be at the core of government values ​​and actions.

It also highlighted the key role played by journalists and practitioners in safeguarding the country’s democracy amid the prevailing harsh economic realities.

In a statement yesterday by its President and Secretary General, Eze Anaba and Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the professional body also requested the National Assembly to initiate and pass a law to protect journalists from abuse, unnecessary litigation and gagging.

This year’s celebration highlighted the “importance of good journalism amid the current global environmental crisis.”

Established in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly, the global event celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, assesses the state of press freedom worldwide, defends the media against attacks on their independence and pays tribute to journalists who lost their lives. in the line of duty.

The celebration also serves as a reminder to governments of the need to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It emphasizes the importance of free, independent and pluralistic media in promoting transparency, accountability and democracy.

The editors noted: “In line with the theme of this year’s celebration, we believe that journalism and freedom of expression are crucial in the context of the current global environmental crisis.

“Journalism and freedom of expression help raise public awareness of environmental issues, hold power to account, amplify marginalized voices, promote transparency and accountability, promote public debate/involvement, and provide of a platform for solutions,” the editors added.

The body added that this year’s edition provides an opportunity for every stakeholder in the media community to continually remind state and non-state actors of the importance of press freedom and the challenges journalists face, including censorship, intimidation, imprisonment and violence, and the urgent The need for the government to take deliberate and sustained action to promote press freedom and good journalism in the country.

The professionals continued: “The federal government will fundamentally promote the environment in which the media can operate responsibly if it adopts a law to protect individuals who speak out on matters of public interest from unlawful lawsuits designed to silence them.

“The federal government should follow the example of the European Union and other democracies around the world, which have passed similar laws to protect journalists and media houses from a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP lawsuit).

“More so, there are still many obnoxious and anti-media laws on our legal books targeting journalists and media houses. The National Assembly must take immediate steps to repeal them.”

They equally urged governments at all levels, international organizations and civil society organizations to protect and promote press freedom, ensure safety and security for journalists/media houses and ensure that all restrictive laws and policies aimed at the media are deleted.
On its part, the Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) yesterday stated that there has been no freedom of the press in the country since 1999 when democracy returned, adding that civil administration is flawed.

In a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the group argued: “There is widespread apathy towards press freedom and freedom of information requests by ministers and agency heads of federal government agencies.

“Appointees of the current President are proudly threatening legal action against groups filing Freedom of Information requests and are ready to engage Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in their bid to escape their responsibilities to the people for accountability and transparency in government.”