Journalism’s Silent Battle

The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism is set to premiere a documentary titled ‘Journalism’s Silent Battle’ to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The short documentary is an exposition on the state of press freedom in the country at present and highlights victims’ experiences, assessment of efforts by professional bodies and CSO’s to advance press freedom in the country and emphasizes strategies to advance the struggle for complete freedom of the press.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution. The Resolution urged the Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013. This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges the Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.

Although Nigeria is a member state, it still falls far below expectation according to the World Press Freedom Index 2018, despite moving up from 122 in 2017 to 119 in 2018. The plurality of the Nigerian press industry, with highest numbers of privately owned media outlets in Africa notwithstanding, journalists are still attacked, harassed, arrested and detained, in the course of their duty and even family members and friends of journalists are not exempt. In almost all instances of such attacks, there is little or no effort to prosecute perpetrators; it is against this backdrop, that conversations around this subject matter must remain an agenda.

The documentary, produced as part of the PTCIJ’s Press Freedom Program, will serve as an advocacy tool to further the cause of a freer press in Nigeria and will be premiered at the launch of the #ISupportFreePress campaign organised by Reboot, a social impact organisation advancing social justice, in partnership with the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism.

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