Stop using repressive laws to intimidate journalists – SERAP, NGE tell Nigerian Govt

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, and Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE, have called on Nigerian authorities at all levels of government to stop using repressive and anti-media laws to target, intimidate and harass journalists, critics and media houses.

The groups made the demand after an interactive session on ‘the state of press freedom in Nigeria’ held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Ikeja.

In a joint statement, SERAP and NGE said that, “the government of President Bola Tinubu, the country’s 36 governors and FCT minister must now genuinely uphold press freedom, ensure access to information to all Nigerians, obey court judgments, and respect the rule of law”.

They expressed concerns about the escalating crackdown on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and the flagrant disregard for the rule of law by authorities at all levels of government.

The groups note that the suppression of the press in recent times takes various forms ranging from extrajudicial to unlawful detentions, disappearances, malicious prosecutions and wrongful use of both legislation and law enforcement.

The statement read in part: “We would continue to speak truth to power and to hold authorities to account for their constitutional and international obligations including on freedom of expression and media freedom.

“Nigeria as a country has a long and unpleasant history of press gagging and clampdown on media freedom, which is evidence of extensive state censorship of media and in some cases, the utter control of state-owned media houses.

“This position has not changed considerably despite almost 25 years of unbroken democratic rule in the Fourth Republic.”

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