International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos has expressed concern over the renewed wave of attacks on journalists, including those covering the primaries of political parties.
In recalling the fresh assaults, the group pointed out that on May 31 this year, the Osun State Correspondent of The Nation, Toba Adedeji, was shot by the police, while covering a protest over alleged police brutality in Osogbo. He was injured on the thigh and admitted to a hospital.
It added that on May 24, suspected political thugs attacked the vehicle conveying members of Osun Correspondents Chapel during a campaign by Governor Gboyega Oyetola in Gbogan in Aiyedaade Local Council of the state.
The body also condemned the arrest of three journalists – Deborah Coker of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Africa Independent Television’s (AIT) Sunny Inarumen and a cameraman with the Independent Television, Osamuyi Ogbomo, while covering a factional primary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In a statement by IPC Press Freedom Officer, Mrs. Melody Lawal, the organisation observed that the attacks represent a return to the regime of repression of journalists and other media professionals in Nigeria, stressing that such development constitutes a grave danger to press freedom and freedom of expression.
Lawal said: “We condemn the attacks and demand the apprehension and trial of the alleged perpetrators so that justice can be served.”
With specific reference to the attacks on journalists on electoral duty, she noted that political parties need to be reminded that the Nigerian Media Code of Election Coverage requires them to grant access to journalists interested in covering their activities, including primaries while taking measures to protect them from aggrieved party members or political thugs.