In view of the worsening press freedom record in the country, the International Press Institute (IPI) Nigeria, has said it will begin to keep record of individuals who assault Journalists.
The President of the institute, Musikilu Mojeed, during a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Abuja, said the new directive will ensure that every individual that harasses journalists or the media will be brought to book.
Recall that the 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranked Nigeria 120 out of 180 countries, indicating a drastic drop as compared to 9years ago.
“Nigeria was ranked 115 out of the 180 countries surveyed in 2013, 112/180 in 2014 and 111/180 in 2015. But the reverse has been the case since 2016 when we were ranked 116/180.
“The situation worsened in the succeeding years. The country was ranked 122/180 in 2017, 119/180 in 2018, 120/180 in 2019, 115/180 in 2020 and 120/180 in 2021.
“In fact, the 2021 ranking described Nigeria as ‘one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists, who are often spied on, attacked, arbitrarily arrested or even killed’,” he said.
Mojeed however said records gathered will be regularly updated and shared periodically with embassies, and all relevant international and human rights groups across the world.
“We will use the records to ensure named individuals are held accountable one way or another.”
Responding, the Minister claimed that the Nigerian media remains the most vibrant and freest in the world.
“I remember saying at the opening of the 2016 IPI World Congress in Qatar that the government of the day in Nigeria is not a threat to the media, and that it is not about to stifle press freedom or deny anyone his or her constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” he said.
The Minister rather appealed to the institute not to relent in its promise to take a holistic look at the issues of fake news, credibility and ethics, among others.
Source: Culled From The Whistler.