Monday, 5 November 2018

Any government that can't protect journalist lacks democracy - NUJ

| 2 November 2018 | Ukorebi Esien 

The Nigerian Union of Journalist in Cross River State have becried the lack of protection for journalist, while revealing that one journalist is killed every four days, while nine out of ten cases, the suspected murderer goes free. This has been happening within the past ten years.

This was revealed by Mr Victor Udu the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Cross River State on the occasion of The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists being 2nd November. 

Udu who argued that "Government has a primary duty to protect lives and property and where this is lacking we wish to state that there is no democracy", also informed that Nigeria is among the coalition of countries world over designated to strengthening democratic values reiterated the argument that government foundational responsibility is protection of lives and property. He added that the NUJ especially its Cross River State Chapter is keen about the covering up of grave human rights abuses and crime. 

His words, 'Data at our disposal reveal that in the past 12 years over 1010 journalists have been killed and it is worrisome to note that one journalist is killed every four days and in nine out of ten cases the killer go free. 

'Like UNESCO, the Nigerian Union of Journalist is very concerned that impunity damages whole society by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption and crime. 

'Countries like Nigeria who are among the coalition dedicated to upholding and strengthening democratic norms should show a clear example in this regard by ensuring and supporting a free press.  

While calling on governments world over to ensure that journalism is practiced without undue interjection, Udu condemned no fewer than twelve countries with a leading track record of impunity index at a global scale. He reminded governments of their responsibilities to ensure that crimes against journalists don't go unpunished. He charged his colleagues to continue practicing despite profound challenges. 

According to him, 'We call on governments the world over to promote a safe, conducive and enabling environment for journalists to perform their duties independently and without undue interference. 

'We condemn countries like Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, South Sudan, Philippines and India who ranked highly in the global impunity index and call on them to enhance fast dispensation of justice. We remind government of their responsibility to ensure that, crimes against journalists do not go unpunished and urge them to see to it that, journalists work in safe conditions which allow for free press to flourish. 

'We join the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to call on journalists to continue to do their work in spite of intimidation, threats, attacks, detention, political pressure, censorship, persecution, harassment and even the illegal killing of members.'

In a concluding tone, the number one journalist in the state stressed that while there is nothing wrong with reporting, said that there is everything wrong with not doing the job. He asked all and sundry to be obliged to freedom of expression and safety of journalists highlighting the reinforcement of all protective and legal measures in consonance with UN plan of action on the safety of journalists and issue of impunity.