By Naomi Sharang
Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has tasked stakeholders in Nigeria to ensure the protection of the press from undue interference in the discharge of its duties.
The group’s Executive Director, Ms Faith Nwadishi said this on Thursday in Abuja at the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day organised by CTA in collaboration with the Abuja chapter of the University of Calabar, Theatre Arts Alumni Association (UCTAA).
”We call on all well- meaning Nigerians to join us in standing up for the press and protecting them from undue interference.
”We are here to not only commemorate the World Press Freedom Day but to celebrate the resilient and indefatigable Nigerian press and journalists who have kept the flag flying high amid stifling environment and circumstances,” she said.
Nwadish said that UNESCO acknowledged that freedom of expression was a driver for all other human rights.
“The press must be allowed to fulfill its roles as a watchdog for society, educate and inform citizens and generate public opinion without fear of harassment, violence, or undue pressure from government or other actors,” she said.
She expressed concern over Nigeria’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index which she said had fallen further to 123 out of 180 countries in 2023.
The executive director said that the ranking had reinforced the urgent need to address the challenges facing the press and protect its rights to operate freely without fear of intimidation or harassment.
“As we mark World Press Freedom Day, we must reaffirm our commitment to upholding the fundamental right to freedom of expression and ensuring that journalists can carry out their critical work without undue interference or censorship.
“The press is a vital component of any democratic society and we must work together to protect and promote press freedom,’’ Nwadishi said.
She reminded media practitioners of their social responsibilities in society by discharging by discharging their duties without fear or hindrance.
“ A free press is critical to any democratic society and we must do all we can to protect and promote it,” she said.
Earlier, the alumni coordinator, Mr MacDonald Ekemezie, said that the association was established to serve as a rallying point for former school mates.
“We are also communicators and therefore, we said it is important we join our voice to reinforce the voice to say that the press should be free.
“A lot of our members are practicing journalists so whatever affects the core media also affects us. We say no to molestation, harassment and intimidation of journalists.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that World Press Freedom Day is celebrated annually on May 3 as a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
The 2023 theme is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights”. (NAN)(ww.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa