Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has accused the Federal Government of encouraging attacks against journalists and media organisations by failing to take measures to protect them and punish perpetrators of such attacks.
MRA’s Communications Officer, Mr. Idowu Adewale, in a statement in Lagos, yesterday, said at least seven media professionals and a media organisation had fallen victim to various forms of attacks in one week, with one journalist shot and injured by policemen.
According to him, the growing spate of attacks against the media is alarming and having a negative impact on freedom of expression. “It is stifling the media environment, thereby, impeding the freedom and ability of journalists and media organisations to carry out their professional duties,” he said.
Adewale, while urging the government to ensure safety of journalists and bring perpetrators to justice, said that failure to do so would not only encourage more attacks against the media but also constitute breach of its treaty obligations.
He said: “It should be a matter of embarrassment to the Federal Government that despite the extremely alarming rate of attacks and crimes against journalists, it cannot point to a single instance over the years, since the inception of this administration, where the perpetrators of such attacks have been arrested, prosecuted and punished.”
He lamented that the perpetrators of recent attacks against the media included law enforcement and security agencies, hoodlums, political thugs, separatist groups, criminal elements, among others, stressing that “government’s inaction and apparent refusal to reprimand its officials who are guilty of such conduct, is clearly being interpreted as an open season for anyone who is so inclined to attack journalists.”
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to put measures in place to apprehend and bring the perpetrators of those attacks and crimes against journalists to justice as well as forestall future occurrences, especially as the 2023 general elections are drawing nearer.