The International Press Centre (IPC) said it documented not less than 40 incidents of press freedom attacks on 49 journalists in the year 2021 alone in Nigeria.
It further said that in 2020, the organisation also identified over 100 journalists and other media professionals who have been victims of surveillance, spying, harassment, threats, violence, assaults, battery, unlawful arrests, jailing, robberies, kidnappings, and suspected murder.
IPC further notes that these acts were committed by state governments and their agencies, Department of State Services (DSS), Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Police Officers, State Police Commands, Nigeria Police Intelligence Response Team, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Unknown gunmen, Hoodlums, Private Organisations, etc.
IPC disclosed this in a statement themed “Journalism Under Digital Siege,” by the Executive Director of IPC, Lanre Arogundade, to mark 2022 World Press Freedom Day (WPFD).
Arogundade noted that the prevalence of press freedom infractions in Nigeria indicates an urgent need for media stakeholders to jointly identify and develop sustainable solutions including raising the standard of safety of journalists and media freedom in the country.
He noted that “the reality is it is little or no justice or even compensation for the victims, while the perpetrators go scot-free, we must therefore all work together to fortify the safety of journalists and media professionals.”
IPC urged the Nigerian government to respect its commitment and uphold the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights.