As the world marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against journalists, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has called on government at all levels to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work freely.
In a statement Monday by its president, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uuwgiaren, the NGE also called on the security agencies to immediately locate a missing a journalist, Tordue Salem of the Vanguard and investigate all forms of attacks against journalists, with the sole purpose of prosecuting the offenders.
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The NGE noted that attacks on journalists have destructive effect on dissemination of information and helpful debate in a democratic space.
It expressed concern over the way journalists were increasingly subjected to all forms of threats, demanding that perpetrators be prosecuted with transparency and accountability to ensure victims have access to appropriate remedies.
“While expressing worry over refusal by the appropriate authorities to properly investigate threats of violence and attacks against journalists in the past few years, the NGE said that it’s very troubling for an adult like Mr. Salem to just vanish into thin air for the past three weeks without a trace.”
Giving instances of attacks against journalists in the past two years, the NGE recalled that on October 11, 2020, Gimba Kakanda, a columnist with Daily Trust, was attacked by police officers when he tried to pick up his car near the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Abuja.
“Aside from deadly attacks, we’ve also noticed ‘’anti-media rhetoric’ by some politicians and senior government officials – that is hostile to the media.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has promised to maintain a positive engagement with the media, guarantee freedom speech in order to maintain the tenets of democracy and quest for development.
Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and House Spokesman Benjamin Kalu made the promises in their separate remarks at a workshop for the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs jointly organized by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Abuja on Monday.
Gbajabiamila described the disappearance of a Vanguard reporter, Tordue Salem, as depressing.
“I do know that the Vanguard correspondent in the House of Representatives, Tordue Salem, who has been missing for some weeks now is still yet to be found.
“I’ve been in contact with the leadership of the Press Corps and the authority that is doing this investigation since this matter came to light.
“I want to encourage security agencies not to relent in their effort to locate Tordue and bring him back to the House. I see the Press Corps as part of the institution and anything that torches one, torches the rest of us,” Gbajabiamila said.
Kalu said the House would continue to uphold the freedom of speech under the law.