World Press Freedom Day: Stop Repressive Laws Targeting Patriotic Independent Journalists, CSOs Tell Nigerian Govt



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As the international community observes World Press Freedom Day, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) have issued a joint call urging Nigerian authorities to halt the use of repressive and anti-media laws. These laws, such as the Cybercrimes Act and certain National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) codes, are being employed to target, intimidate, and harass journalists, critics, and media houses.

The statement comes in the wake of an interactive session titled ‘the state of press freedom in Nigeria’ held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja. Organized by SERAP and NGE to commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the event highlighted growing concerns about the escalating crackdown on freedom of expression and media freedom across all levels of government in Nigeria.

In a joint statement, SERAP and NGE emphasized the need for President Bola Tinubu’s government, along with the country’s governors and FCT minister, to uphold press freedom, ensure access to information for all Nigerians, abide by court judgments, and respect the rule of law.

The groups expressed serious concerns over various forms of press suppression, including extrajudicial detentions, disappearances, malicious prosecutions, and the wrongful use of legislation and law enforcement agencies. They highlighted the historical context of press gagging and media control in Nigeria, citing ongoing challenges despite nearly 25 years of democratic rule in the Fourth Republic.

While acknowledging the importance of press freedom as a cornerstone of democracy, SERAP and NGE stressed the need for legislative and institutional reforms to safeguard media freedom in Nigeria. They called for the review and amendment of existing laws, such as the Cybercrimes Act, Official Secrets Act, and Criminal Code Act, to align them with international human rights standards and constitutional provisions.

Additionally, the groups urged the Federal Government to strengthen the independence of regulatory bodies like the NBC and Nigerian Press Council (NPC) to ensure impartial regulation and promote self-regulation within the media industry.

The statement concluded with appeals to state governors, the National Assembly, and the international community to take decisive action in upholding freedom of expression, media freedom, and the rule of law in Nigeria. The interactive session was attended by senior media figures, civil society representatives, and other stakeholders, underscoring the broad support for press freedom in the country.

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News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) is a news reporting agency owned and run by the Federal Government of Nigeria just like Nigerian Television Authority.[1] On 10 May 1976 the agency was founded and established by Onitsha noble Onuora Nzekwu who was its first official Managing Director and Chief Editor. On 2 October 1978 its operations began.[2][3] NAN provides General News Service to subscribers in three bulletins published daily. The agency’s website was launched on 8 August 2016, to offer news to the worldwide audience interested in news primarily about Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country. The current Managing Director of NAN is Bayo Onanuga.

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