THE Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Federal government of Nigeria to implement the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution on Safety of Journalists.
MRA made the call in a statement issued in Lagos state and made available to The ICIR on Wednesday.
Edetaen Ojo, the Executive Director of MRA in the statement said the resolution with code A/HRC/45/L.42/Rev.1, was introduced by Austria and adopted by a consensus of the 47-member UN Human Rights Council at its 45th Regular Session, which ends on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ojo said the Federal Government should give full effect to its provisions, including bringing all its laws, policies and practices into compliance with its obligations under international human rights law, as required by the resolution.
“This latest resolution by the Human Rights Council on the safety of journalists is clear and comprehensive guidance to governments around the world, including the Nigerian Government, on the concrete actions they need to take to protect their journalists and media communities given the invaluable service they provide to their societies; to keep their citizens properly informed, and to fulfil their obligations under international human rights law as far as media freedom is concerned,” said Ojo.
According to Ojo, the Nigerian government should establish preventive mechanisms, such as an early warning and rapid response mechanism, to give journalists and media workers, when threatened, immediate access to authorities competent and adequately resourced to provide effective protective measures.
He also urged the government to develop and implement strategies for combating impunity for attacks against journalists as well as accountability into the conduct of investigations on attacks on media workers.
He further reiterated that the authority should take into account the specific role, exposure and vulnerability of journalists and media workers observing, monitoring, recording and reporting protests and assemblies, and protecting their safety and ensured that defamation and libel laws are not misused to censor journalists.
“Cooperating with journalists, the media and civil society organizations to assess the damage that the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting on the provision of vital information to the public and the sustainability of media environments, and to consider devising appropriate mechanisms to provide financial support to the media, including local journalism and investigative reporting, and to ensure that support is given without compromising editorial independence,” MRA advised.
The Community to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had also called on the Nigerian government to scrap or amend the Nigeria Cyber Crimes Act to ensure it is not used to stifle the press.