Home » Nigeria must comply with recent high court judgment to protect journalists’ safety: CPJ

Nigeria must comply with recent high court judgment to protect journalists’ safety: CPJ

by Derek Andrews
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Nigerian authorities should adjust to a current federal excessive court docket judgment ordering them to research and appropriately punish all assaults in opposition to journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Thursday. The landmark judgment, delivered on the February 16, may have important implications for Nigerian journalists, who’re frequently monitored, arbitrarily arrested, attacked and killed. Nevertheless, the CPJ warned that Nigerian authorities have a historical past of broadly disregarding rulings defending press freedom.

Nigerian press freedom group Media Rights Agenda (MRA) filed the lawsuit on the coronary heart of the February 16 ruling in October 2021 in opposition to Nigeria’s federal authorities. MRA claimed that Nigerian media professionals’ proper to life and freedom of expression have been repeatedly violated by the federal government. They pointed to the alarming charge at which media professionals have been murdered over the previous few a long time (both within the line of responsibility or below circumstances regarding their careers) and the failure of the federal government to adequately shield them, examine their deaths and prosecute and punish their killers. They cited a number of examples of unresolved assaults on journalists, resembling: Dele Giwa, killed by parcel bomb in 1986; Bolade Fasisi shot in 1998, and Omolulu Falobi shot in 2006.

The lawsuit on no account captured all of the Nigerian journalists whose deaths have been left with out ample investigation. In a letter addressed to President Bola Tinbu in August 2023, the CPJ named 22 journalists killed within the final 30 years.

Within the judgment, Inyang Ekwo of the Federal Excessive Court docket in Abuja stated:

An order is hereby made directing the federal authorities of Nigeria to research, prosecute and publish perpetrators of all assaults in opposition to journalists and different media practitioners, and be certain that all victims of assaults in opposition to journalists have entry to enough cures. An order is hereby made directing the federal authorities to take measures to lift consciousness.

He agreed with the MRA’s declare that the killing of the journalists was a violation of their rights below Part 33’s proper to life)of the 1999 Constitution and Article 4’s respect for lifetime of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Ekwo additionally discovered that the journalists’ deaths whereas fulfilling their duties was a violation of their freedom of expression and the press below part 39 of the Structure and Article 9 of the African Constitution. He additional declared that the federal government had violated Precept 20 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, which ensures the protection of journalists and different media practitioners.

Therefore, Ekwo discovered the federal government to be in breach of those statutory duties and ordered that they resolve this.

In a January Common Periodic Overview, a UN Human Rights Council mechanism enabling member states to bear peer evaluation of their human rights affairs, the Legal professional-Common of the Federation and Minister of Justice Lateef Fagbemi claimed that Nigeria stays one of many most secure locations for journalists in Africa. Fagbemi mentioned journalists in Nigeria are free from “any type of harassment or intimidation.” That is opposite to most reports.

“Authorities in Nigeria should take swift and clear steps to adjust to the federal excessive court docket ruling instructing them to research and maintain accountable these answerable for attacking and killing journalists,” mentioned the pinnacle of CPJ Angela Quintal. She went on, “Investigations that ship justice for slain or attacked journalists could be an illustration of political will on the a part of Nigeria’s authorities to enhance press freedom within the nation.”

This sentiment was mirrored in a press statement by the Nigerian Nationwide Committee of the Worldwide Press Institute, which referred to as for “a crack crew of investigators” to reopen all unsolved journalist homicide instances. The institute continued, “We name on the govermment to guard them in accordance with its obligation below the African Constitution on Human & Peoples Rights. All previous instances of journalists’ homicide, brutalisation and harassments must be totally investigated and punished.”

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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