Vice-Chancellor, Federal University, Kashere, Gombe, Prof. Umaru Pate, has called on governments at all levels to investigate and prosecute crimes against media professionals.
He spoke in Abuja yesterday at the 2022 celebration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, (IDECAJ).
He said 74 attacks were carried out on journalists alone in 2019.
He said shortly before the 2019 polls, three journalists suffered life-threatening injuries from gunfire while covering a political rally in one of the states.
He spoke on the topic ‘Threat to Press Freedom and Safety of Journalists in an Election Year in Nigeria.
According to him, tension and violence in the country impacts on media freedom and safety of journalists in many forms of personal and organisational risks.
He also said journalists suffered digital insecurity, economic and psychological threats; while internet freedom was attacked with 21 websites blocked.
‘’The perpetrators also forced journalists to delete visual evidence of election malpractices. None of the perpetrators/attackers was ever prosecuted or punished and they are still around.’’
He said possible threats to 2023 elections might come from state and non-state actors; while ownership interference might force self-censorship for personal safety which would weaken investigative and data-driven journalism as over 30 cases of attacks on journalists had so far been recorded in 2022.