A civil society organisation, Media Rights Agenda (MRA), has condemned the assault on journalists by armed thugs on Wednesday, August 16, in the Opu Nembe community in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.
The MRA, in a statement made available to The ICIR, also urged the Nigeria Police Force to investigate the tragedy thoroughly to ensure the culprits be brought to justice.
Journalists from various media covered an outbreak of violence in Opu Nembe on the day when thugs brutally assaulted them. The assailants attacked the journalists and took their television cameras and other necessary tools.
MRA listed Joseph Kunde and his cameraman from TVC News, officials from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and employees of Daar Communications Limited and The Sun Publishing Limited as victims of the assault.
MRA’s Programme Officer, John Gbadamosi, observed that “the Government’s silence and inaction appear to foster a culture of impunity for attacks against journalists.”
He appealed to the police chief, Kayode Egbetokun, to open an investigation into the incident.
In addition, he emphasized the significance of educating the Nigerian Police Force on the critical function and legal rights of the media in a democracy.
Gbadamosi called attention to the rise in violence against journalists. He said this pattern not only endangers the safety of journalists but also threatens the foundational principles of press freedom and, consequently, democracy itself.
In Nigeria, there have been similar assaults on media practitioners.