Today, March 3, is World Press Freedom Day, observed annually to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right as enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day, themed ‘Journalism under digital siege’, looks at the multiple ways in which journalism is endangered by surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists.
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According to International Press Institute, a total of 45 journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2021.
Also, a 2021 press freedom report revealed that the media industry recorded seven unresolved killings, 300 violations and abuses, affecting 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses since 2015 under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The report released by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said that this development is of major concern as journalists and media organisations are targets of attack by both protesters and government.
“The nation is witnessing actions that seek to undermine the journalism profession by both state and non-state actors. Nigeria is fast gaining notoriety for its failure to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists including killings,” the Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right (CASER), Barrister Frank Tietie, had said.
In light of this year’s World Press Freedom, Daily Trust highlights 10 Nigerian journalists who were killed in the line of duty.
Isa was a reporter for Nigerian Television Authority in Borno State. He was killed by Boko Haram insurgents who claimed he was spying on them for the Nigerian security authorities.
Ohu, who worked for The Guardian as a political reporter and an assistant news editor, was killed in Lagos in 2009. He was preparing for a church service after seeing off his wife, Ochuko, and sister-in-law, to the early morning service when the gunmen knocked on his door around 7am and shot him dead. In 2012, a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja discharged and acquitted three persons charged with conspiracy and the murder of the late journalist.
Salem was a reporter with Vanguard Newspaper. He was declared missing and later found dead in November 2021. There were claims that he was murdered but a police report said he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Abuja.
Boyi was a photojournalist who was killed when the convoy of Governor Haruna Bonniein of Adamawa State was attacked by some armed men on November 5, 1999.
Owolabi, was until his death, a Channels TV reporter. He was hit by a stray bullet while he was covering a protest by members of Shi’ite in Abuja on July 22, 2019. Policemen had been drafted to the scene to quell the protest.
Like Owolabi, Ogbu, an editor with a local independent outlet, Regent Africa Times, was hit by a bullet allegedly fired by the police at the scene of the Shi’ite protest On January 21, 2020 in Abuja.
The 20-year-old journalist was allegedly killed by policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force during the #EndSARS protests on October 24, 2020. He was an intern with GboahTV, an online television.
Badejo was a former presenter and on-air personality for Naija FM. He was killed by armed men outside Club 407 in the Oluyole area of Ibadan, Oyo State, on June 19, 2021.
A reporter with the government-owned Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), Nashan was abducted from his home before he was hacked to death in Adamawa State on January 15, 2020.
Afuye, fondly known as ‘Bumbam’, was allegedly killed by armed robbers on July 15, 2021, who raided a bank in Ondo State. He worked with the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation (OSRC) and Orange FM before he resigned to join Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, as a Public Relations Officer (PRO).