IPC establishes Centre for Safety of Journalists in Nigeria, laments increasing attacks on media
To further address the growing spate of attacks on journalists and the threats on media freedom in Nigeria, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, has announced that it is establishing a Centre for the Safety and Protection of Journalist (CSPJ), as part of its unique activities to commemorate World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2023.
A statement by Mr. Lanre Arogundade, IPC’s Executive Director, said Melody Lawal has been appointed as the Centre Coordinator, with the task of positioning the CSPJ to strategically coordinate initiatives to respond to the challenge of addressing the worsening state of the safety of journalists and press freedom in Nigeria.
According to Mrs. Lawal, an indication of the deteriorating press freedom situation was the fact that the year 2022 witnessed more attacks on journalists and the media than the previous year.
Unlike 2021 when forty-one (41) attacks were documented, the IPC Safety of Journalists Alert Desk recorded sixty-six (66) attacks in 2022 with the perpetrators including law enforcement and security agents; political thugs and hoodlums; unknown gunmen, among others.
The breakdown shows that four (4) attacks were recorded in the North West, sixteen (16) in the North Central, six (6) in the North East, twenty-six (26) in the South West, four (4) in the South East and ten (10) in the South South.
The types of attacks include physical assault, abduction, gun attack, threat to life, denial of access to information, unlawful arrest and detention, harassment, threat to sanction and payment of fine, with twenty-six (26) broadcast journalists, thirteen (13) print journalists and twenty-four (24) online journalists among those affected.
In terms of gender, fifty-six (56) male journalists and ten (10) female journalists suffered one form of molestation or the other.
According to the statement by IPC, full details of the attacks and the modus operandi of the new Centre on the Safety of Journalists will be unveiled at a media roundtable organised by IPC in partnership with the West Zone of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Oyo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists at Ibadan, Oyo State.
The roundtable, slated for Friday, May 5, 2023 shall have Professor Tokunbo Adaja, Dean College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), giving the keynote address on ‘Protecting Freedom of Expression in the Age of Misinformation & Disinformation’.
The event, which will be attended by editors, journalists and other media professionals and leaders of the NUJ is expected to exhaustively discuss the press freedom situation in the country and make recommendations on how the deteriorating situation can be checked.