As Nigeria joins the rest of the global community to commemorate the 2021 International Day to End Impunity for Crime Against Journalists (IDEICJ), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has reiterated the need to show maximum respect, cooperation and support to journalists in the course of their Constitutional responsibility of holding the government accountable to the people and informing and educating the public.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu who made this statement in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital observed that journalism has remained the oxygen of democracy and that “even during the military era, journalists stood firm in defense of freedom despite intense harassment and intimidation by the then military authorities.
According to the Chief Human Rights Officer in a statement by the Deputy Director Public Affairs of the Commission, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, it is not surprising that this year’s observance focuses on “the key aspect of prosecutorial services,” is to ensure that individuals, groups, institutions or government officials who violate the rights of journalists and media workers are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted in accordance with the relevant national, regional and international law.
The Chief Executive Office of the NHRC, noted that the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has said it all in his speech for this year’s celebration where he urged Member states and international community to “Stand in solidarity with journalists around the world today and every day, and to demonstrate the political will needed to investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists and media workers with the full force of the law.
The Executive Secretary recalled that in Nigeria there have been some cases of unlawfully arrest and detention of journalists and enforced disappearance, adding that “the Commission has always risen up to defend the rights of such victims and we have always made remarkable impacts towards ensuring that journalists are not visited with impunity in the course of their job.
He therefore urged journalists not to renege in their humanitarian duties of informing, educating and entertaining the public, pointing out that dissemination of crucial and scientific information about COVID-19 pandemic assisted humanity to reduce the scourge and morbidity rate.
Journalists deserve cooperation not attack- NHRC