May 23, 2024

Press freedom: Don urges govt to prosecute crimes against media professionals

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Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State, Prof. Umaru Pate

Ini Billie, Uyo

Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State, Prof. Umaru Pate, has urged governments at all levels to investigate and prosecute crimes against media professionals to ensure press freedom and safety.

Pate said this during the 2023 World Press Freedom Day in Akwa Ibom State on the theme: “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of Expression as Driver for All Other Human Rights”.

While addressing the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as the keynote speaker at the NUJ Press Centre on Wednesday in Uyo, Pate noted that journalists suffer digital insecurity, and economic and psychological threats, adding that over 40 cases of attacks on journalists were recorded in 2022.

Pate stated that the fear and uncertainty of impunity, the threat of violence, governmental pressure and the crisis of confidence in the media industry are issues that undermine professionalism and freedom.

He, therefore, recommended among other things, governments’ involvement in the safety of journalists, immediate legal redress whenever rights and freedoms of journalists are threatened, and the conscious need for safety and safety protocols.

“Governments should fulfil their responsibility to ensure that crimes against media professionals are investigated and prosecuted.

“Promote and propagate values that respect the media’s vital role in promoting sustainable peace, democracy and credible elections in the country: emphasise the relationship between securing the safety of journalists and our own freedoms.

“Address welfare issues as poor welfare is a threat to press freedom and media quality, failure encourages self-censorship and internal corruption.

“The media community should have the courage to overcome the strangulation of independent sources of information and financial pressures on editorial quality and critical news content,” he said.

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