World Press Freedom Day and the Extent of Nigerian Press Freedom
By Mohammed Dahiru Lawal
As we join the Globe in marking the World Press Freedom Day again, the recurring contestation have been and still is, if the Nigerian Press is absolutely truly free in line with universally acceptable standards or yardstick.
While we might have recorded some successes from our journey in the military era down to the current dispensation, recent happenings with media colleagues across the country have proven that we still have a long way to go.
It is not in dispute that a handful of media professionals suffer attacks, including harassment and intimidation, arrests, detention, assaults, threats, denial of access and seizure of equipment mostly from politicians and security operatives thereby disrupting them from fulfilling their roles of watchdogs, gatekeepers and agenda-setters for National growth and development.
In speaking the minds of our colleagues, we wish to reiterate that Press Freedom is very essential to our endeavor, it is our enabling environment, it is our fertile ground to thrive, it is the very fundamental core that serves as a pillar for us to deliver on our mandate as 4th estate of the realm while dispensing our duties through the might of our pen and the strengths in our voices and we demand it!
We use this day to renew our call that authorities should not only work hard in allowing the press to thrive freely under the tenets that drives them ethically, but to ensure and guarantee thier safety at all times.
On our part, we use this day to recommit ourselves to the duty that cherish with pride.
To all my Press Colleagues out there, I greet you on this great day. May the pen continue to weild greater might against the sword.
Mohammad Dahiru Lawal
Media Strategist, Development Journalist, Reporting Fellow, Convener Arewa Agenda for Sustainable Development, Coordinator Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting and National Secretary Nigerian Journalists for Climate Action Network (NIJOCAN).