Story by Elizabeth Vincent
                                                                          IPC ,IDEI, demands urgent investigations into unresolved killings and attacks on Journalists; calls for commitment to UNESCO’s 3 Ps on safety of journalists especially during off-cycle governorship elections on Nov 11.
To commemorate this year’s International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria is calling for urgent but thorough investigations into the documented cases of crimes against journalists so that perpetrators can be held accountable.
The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) is observed yearly on November 2nd to pay tribute to journalists killed in the line of duty, and to raise awareness of the dangers of impunity for crimes committed against journalists.
Based on UNESCO’s theme for this year’s commemoration –  “Violence against journalists, the integrity of elections, and the role of public leadership” – IPC calls on Nigeria to take the lead in guaranteeing the safety of journalists at elections and while covering other assignments so that the country would not continue to rank poorly on global press freedom indicators.
IPC affirms that the threats to journalism and press freedom are alarming on the grounds of the numerous monitored and documented incidents of attacks against journalists which has worsened in the past decade and largely remains judicially unresolved.
Among the unsolved killings of journalists in the line of duty in Nigeria are those of Alex Ogbu (Regent Africa Times), Ikechukwu Onubogu, (Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), Maxwell Nashan (Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria), Onifade Emmanuel Pelumi (Gboah TV) and Precious Owolabi (Channels TV).
In addition, the IPC Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (ICSPJ) this year alone has recorded twenty-nine (29) cases of attacks involving thirty-nine (39) journalists across the country, including attacks on at least 12 journalists covering the February 2023 general elections – the journalists and other media professionals were subjected to harassment and intimidation.
The nature of attacks include – Imposition of fine, physical assault, harassment, deleting of pictures, unlawful arrest, detention, intimidation, denial of access to polling unit to cover electoral process, molestation, threat to life, abduction, damage to vehicle, sporadic gunshot and explosion, while Persons/groups allegedly responsible were – NBC, political thugs, military officers, police officers, angry youths, alleged gunmen, security operatives, kidnappers and duty bearers.
The Executive Director, IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade in a statement said: “Frequent attacks on journalists discourages the media from performing its core functions at elections, especially providing credible information to enable the people to make informed choices.
He added: “The fight to end the entrenched culture of impunity for crimes against the media, requires a multi-stakeholder approach, this is why IPC along with other media support and media professional groups as well as other stakeholders including the civil society, have for some time spearheaded the campaign for the establishment of a national mechanism for the safety and protection of journalists in Nigeria”.
Mr. Arogundade called on the Tinubu administration to take urgent measures to comply with regional and international frameworks on safety journalists, which UNESCO says should revolve around the three Ps of: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution.
He enjoined the security and the law enforcement authorities to accord high priority to the safety of the Journalists who would be on duty during the off-cycle governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States on November 11.
Mr. Arogundade however enjoined the journalists to take responsibility for their own safety by adhering to election reporting safety advisory for journalists by IPC and the Nigeria Media Code of Election Coverage.
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