The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) is set to launch a report on the state of Press Freedom in Nigeria on 12th November 2020. The report titled “State of Press Freedom – Trends and Reflections” is a critical analysis of press freedom and surrounding issues and contains contributions from fourteen (14) professionals across the media value chain.
This report, supported by Free Press Unlimited (FPU), seeks to review the landscape of press freedom and draws connections between the several issues that concern the media in a way that reflects the state of its existence. It sheds light on present challenges to media freedom, drawing attention to the need to amend laws that constrain press freedom in Nigeria, end violations of journalists’ rights, innovate around media business models to sustain a truly free press, among other issues discussed in the report. A highlight of the report is the analysis of a snap survey that examines the public’s perception of media freedom, operations and sustainability
The Programme Director Oluwatosin Alagbe said, “A free press is vital for every democracy because a free press plays a critical role in informing people about their rights, holding governments accountable and allows for varying conversations about issues of public interest”. Our vision at PTCIJ is a truly independent media landscape that advances fundamental human rights, good governance and accountability in Nigeria. The Centre cannot achieve this vision without advocating a truly free press in Nigeria, and it does this through its Media Freedom Project.
She stated further that journalists and activists have been spied on, threatened, arbitrarily arrested, forcedly kidnapped and unlawfully detained. Worsening these threats is the introduction of two prohibitive legislative proposals – the Hate Speech and the Social Media Bills, which until recently were under consideration in the National Assembly. It does not help matters that Nigeria flouts its own multiple treaty obligations. Articles 19 of the Universal Declarations on Human Rights, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, as well as Sections 65 and 66 of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocol not to mention other United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) protocols are just a handful of international instruments that the country has committed to but constantly flouts with regards to its obligation to promote a free press at home.
She concluded, saying, this is the environment within which the Nigerian media exists and so conversations on freedom of the press must be ongoing and persistent.
The Press Freedom Project of the PTCIJ is designed to advocate and promote press freedom, freedom of expression, net neutrality and media plurality in Nigeria. The project achieves these objectives with tools like the Press Attack Tracker, which tracks and reports violations against the press; Leaks.NG – a secure whistleblowing platform and coalitions such as the Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom and Coalition of Lawyers for Press Freedom.2