As part of its contributions to improve press freedom and the safety of Journalists during the 2023 general elections, the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) in partnership with The Canadian Fund for Local Initiative (CLFI) is organizing a Media Freedom Symposium for Nigerian Journalists.
The symposium which has its theme as ‘Elections 2023: Security, Media and Safety’ will hold on Tuesday 31st of January, 2023, in Lagos state, while many others are expected to participate via zoom.
According to the Centre, the symposium is to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists and is a response to the continued threats to the safety of Journalists, and fears of what could emerge in the wake of the 2023 elections in the country.
“The event will bring a range of experts in media policy, media industry, judicial and legislative sectors, security personnel, frontline actors, and relevant international & local non-governmental organisations to reflect and proffer insights on how to protect journalists and media workers ahead of, during and post 2023 Nigeria elections.
“The question of safety is central to journalists’ performance of their duties without fear or interference, yet more and more democratic governments and elected officials resort to authoritarian tendencies, in the resolution of media-state conflicts.
“Additionally, election periods are typically notorious for attacks on journalists and for stifling the media ecosystem in the hope of constraining the spaces of democratic accountability, human freedom and citizen’s liberties. The 2023 elections are already showing promises to that effect.
“The symposium will also help push for an agenda for engaging security personnel and political parties regarding the protection of the Nigerian press. In this context, security agencies and political parties will hopefully join to draft and adhere to a pact to protect journalists, and the press, ahead of and during the elections.
“We believe that your experience and thoughts will contribute in no small measure to increasing knowledge in the subject matter and by that set a course towards improving Press Freedom and the safety of journalists in Nigeria”, the centre said.
Ending impunity for crimes against journalists is one of the most pressing issues to guarantee freedom of expression and access to information for all citizens.
The United Nations General Assembly had proclaimed 2 November of every year as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163.
The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity.
This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges 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.