As Nigerian joins the rest of the world to celebrate the 2016 World Press Freedom Day, the National Human Rights Commission has tasked stakeholders against violation of right of journalists, towards deepening democratic ethos in the country.
The executive secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe who gave the task while addressing journalists yesterday in Abuja, re-affirmed its commitment to protecting the rights of every journalist in Nigeria.
Angwe noted that failure to protect journalists all over the world would no doubt lead to social disorder and stunted democratic process.
He called on media workers to make adequate use of the Freedom of Information, FoI, law to boost their access to information in both public and private sectors as most of the encumbrance to accessing information have been cured by the law.
While stressing on the need to give adequate protection to journalists, Prof. Angwe recalled that the Commission has in recent times received several complaints from journalists working in prominent media organizations on non- payment of salaries and entitlements which he described as constituting a gross violation of their rights to work.
He therefore enjoined owners of media organisations in the country to pay journalists their remuneration as at when due, as the Commission would not hesitate to take firm, but fair decisions on the various complaints lined up before it on non-payment of journalists’ salaries. He said the Commission would do everything within its powers to seek appropriate redress for these journalists as this would encourage hard work and promote balanced reporting.
Prof. Angwe also condemned in strong terms, the spate of kidnapping of journalists in Nigeria over the years saying, “It is disheartening that the press whom we rely on as veritable source of information and updates on happenings around us are now endangered species”.
He quoted a report from Reporters Without Borders, a global association of journalists as revealing that “a total of 101 journalists were killed in connection with their work for unclear reasons in 2015”.
Against this backdrop, Prof. Angwe urged the African Union, AU, and other international bodies to persuade their member nations to put stringent legislations in place to curb violence against journalists, as well as promote life insurance policies for them in countries where they are not already in place. “This would ensure that families of any deceased or maimed journalist are given social security protection”. He added.
The World Press Freedom Day which is celebrated on May 3 every year is an opportunity for nations of the world and indeed all humanity to look inwards and appraise the level of freedom being enjoyed by the press which in recent times have suffered different forms of violence.

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