Over 47 incidents of attack on journalists recorded in a year- Says MRA

By Suru Charles

No fewer than 47 incidents of attacks against journalists, media workers and media houses, were said to have been recorded in the last one year.

The leadership of the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) who stated this yesterday via a press statement made available to The Trumpet in Jalingo, the capital of Taraba state, said, the attacks also led to their journalists being arrested, detained, assaulted, beaten and abducted.

Apart from the aforementioned inhuman treatments malted at the media, their equipment and gadgets, the organization said were as well confiscated “and, in some cases, destroyed, have their operations disrupted among other forms of attacks.”

The Programme Director of the organization, Ayode Longe who stated this, beckoned on governments at all levels to fulfil their obligations to ensure the safety of journalists.

This, according to him, can be executed by investigating all attacks against media practitioners as well as prosecuting and punishing the perpetrators of such attacks.

Doing this, the organization believed it would send a strong signal to those who attack journalists that they can no longer do so with impunity while also giving the media the confidence to carry out their functions without fear.

Expressing sadness that no action has been taken against those perpetrating ills against journalists, he challenged the government to cite any attack on journalists or the media that it has seriously investigated and shared with the public the outcome of any such investigation, including details of those arrested and prosecuted for the offence.

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“Since the beginning of the current democratic dispensation on May 29, 1999, to date, MRA has collated and documented cases of 19 journalists killed and in none of these killings has the Federal Government investigated, arrested, prosecuted or brought any of the perpetrators to justice,” MRA said.

Besides, the organization, according to him, has in the last one year alone, collated and documented over 47 incidents of attacks against journalists, media workers and media houses, adding that in the course of their work.”

Also faulting the Nigerian police, records, as made known by him, “showed that men of the Nigerian Police are the major perpetrators of the attacks against journalists.”

Adding that “as MRA had documented over 15 of such incidents in which they were the perpetrators, with armed hoodlums and political thugs coming a close second.”

While expressing concern that the “Police are also being frequently used to harass and intimidate journalists and other media workers by the rich and powerful persons in the society, he reminds the government that the world is moving away from criminalizing expression and as such journalists should not be arrested, detained or charged to court over stories and reports that they have published.

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