Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/compat.php on line 1

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; WP_MatchesMapRegex has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/class-wp.php on line 634

Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/translations.php on line 1

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; Translation_Entry has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/entry.php on line 14

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; POMO_Reader has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/streams.php on line 12

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; POMO_FileReader has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/streams.php on line 120

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; POMO_StringReader has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/streams.php on line 175

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; POMO_CachedFileReader has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/streams.php on line 221

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; POMO_CachedIntFileReader has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/pomo/streams.php on line 236

Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/theme.php on line 1

Deprecated: Function create_function() is deprecated in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/script-loader.php on line 1

Deprecated: Methods with the same name as their class will not be constructors in a future version of PHP; WP_Widget_Factory has a deprecated constructor in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/widgets.php on line 544

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/compat.php:1) in /nfs/c05/h04/mnt/70683/domains/mediarightsagenda.net/html/web/wp-includes/feed-rss2.php on line 8
Media Rights Agenda » Press Releases http://mediarightsagenda.net/web Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:18:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.32 MRA Files Suit Against NBC Challenging its Powers to Impose Fines on Radio and TV Stations http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-files-suit-against-nbc-challenging-its-powers-to-impose-fines-on-radio-and-tv-stations/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-files-suit-against-nbc-challenging-its-powers-to-impose-fines-on-radio-and-tv-stations/#comments Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:18:46 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15852 Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, Ag. DG, NBC
Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, Ag. DG, NBC

Lagos, Monday, November 9, 2020:  Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has filed a lawsuit at the Federal High Court in Ibadan, Oyo State, challenging the powers of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to impose fines on broadcasting stations since it is not a judicial body. The organization is asking the court to set aside the fines of N3 million each imposed by the NBC on three television stations on October 23 as unlawfully imposed and therefore null and void.

In the suit filed on behalf of the organization by Ibadan-based lawyer, Mr. Boluwatife Sanya, MRA is asking the court to declare the fines imposed by the NBC on ARISE Television, Channels Television and the Africa Independent Television (AIT) over their coverage of the #ENDSARS protests null and void; set aside the fines as unlawfully imposed; and issue a perpetual injunction restraining the Commission from imposing sanctions or fines or other unlawful or unconstitutional restrictions on television and radio stations in Nigeria.

The suit, brought under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009; Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended; and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, as preserved by the Ratification and Enforcement Act (Cap A9), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004,  is founded in part on MRA’s contention that the imposition of sanctions and fines of N3 million each on the three stations contravenes section 15.2.2 and other provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code relating to sanctions and fines as well as the doctrine of fair hearing as provided for in the Constitution.

 Specifically, MRA is seeking the following reliefs:

  • A declaration that the NBC’s arbitrary act of sanctioning and imposing fines of N3 million each on ARISE TV, Channels TV, and AIT purportedly in line with Sections 5.6.3 and 5.6.9 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code creates a chilling or stifling effect on freedom of expression and is likely to interfere with the right of MRA’s members to freedom of expression, particularly their right to receive ideas and information without interference as guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution and Article 9 of the African Charter;
  • A declaration that the fine of N3 million each imposed on the stations constitutes an interference with the rights of MRA’s members to freedom of expression, particularly their right to receive ideas and information without interference guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution and Article 9 of the African Charter;
  • A declaration that the NBC, not being a judicial body, lacks the power to impose fines on any broadcaster, including fines imposed on the three stations, and that the imposition of such fines is null and void;
  • A consequential order setting aside the fines of N3 million each imposed on the three stations as the fines were unlawfully imposed; and
  • A perpetual injunction restraining the NBC, its officers, agents and/or representatives from imposing sanctions or fines or excessive, disproportionate, unlawful and unconstitutional restrictions on television or radio stations which will interfere with the rights of MRA’s members to freedom of expression, particularly their right to receive ideas and information without interference.

 The suit is supported by an 18-paragraph affidavit deposed to on behalf of MRA by Ms Mercy Abudu, in which she recounted the circumstances surrounding the imposition of the fines on the three stations and concerns of censorship of the television stations expressed by members of MRA and their fears that the action would infringe on their rights to receive information and ideas from the stations.

 In his written address in support of MRA’s suit, Mr. Sanya accused the NBC of acting as the accuser and the judge at the same time in its own case in contravention of the well-established human rights principle, which is also guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution, that “you cannot be a judge in your own cause.”

 Besides, he said, the Court of Appeal had made clear in NOSDRA v Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (2018) LPELR-44210 (CA) that “the imposition of fines by NOSDRA was contrary to its powers on the basis that penalties or fines are imposed as punishment for an offence or violation of the law and the power as well as competence to establish that an offence has been committed belongs to the courts and not a regulatory agency.”

 No date has been fixed for the hearing.

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale (Mr.)
Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]> http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-files-suit-against-nbc-challenging-its-powers-to-impose-fines-on-radio-and-tv-stations/feed/ 0 Media Rights Agenda Calls on Government to Investigate the Death of TV Reporter http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/media-rights-agenda-calls-on-government-to-investigate-the-death-of-tv-reporter/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/media-rights-agenda-calls-on-government-to-investigate-the-death-of-tv-reporter/#comments Fri, 06 Nov 2020 14:24:50 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15807 Pelumi Onifade, Reporter, Gboah TV,

Pelumi Onifade, Reporter, Gboah TV,

LAGOS, Friday, November 6, 2020: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today called on the Federal Government to launch a transparent and independent investigation into the death of Mr. Pelumi Onifade, a reporter with Gboah TV, an online television channel, who was reportedly arrested by officers attached to the Lagos state task force while covering the #EndSARS protests, and later found dead at a mortuary in Ikorodu Lagos, where his body was deposited.

The 20-year old Mr. Onifade was covering the scene of a mob raid on a government facility in the Oko Oba area of Agege Local Government Area for Gboah TV, where he was serving as an intern, when operatives of the task force stormed the scene and engaged hoodlums who attempted to loot palliatives at the Ministry of Agriculture store in the Abattoir area of the state.

Despite wearing a jacket identifying him as a journalist, he was reportedly arrested and dragged away by men of the task force on October 24, 2020. A statement by Gboah TV said the family and the station searched for him for days before they discovered his corpse at the mortuary in Ikorodu.

The late Mr. Onifade was a second year student of the department of history at the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ogun State, was an intern with Gboah TV.

MRA’s Programme Director, Mr. Ayode Longe, said in a statement in Lagos that “Mr. Onifade’s death is one too many and is particularly ironic as he was arrested while covering protests that had engulfed the country as a result of police brutality and extra-judicial killings. This latest incident must not go uninvestigated. The Federal Government must make every effort to establish the circumstances of his death, identify his killers and make them to face the wrath of the law.”

Reminding the Federal Government that earlier his week, on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on November 2, MRA had called for the establishment of mechanisms to combat impunity for attacks and violence against media workers in order to ensure accountability for such acts and discourage future attacks, Mr. Longe said “the killing of Mr. Onifade has given additional urgency to such a call.  In this day and age, no attack against any journalist, and certainly not the killing of a journalist, should go unpunished as such cases of impunity only breed more impunity.”

He reiterated MRA’s earlier call on the Government to fulfill its international obligations by launching a serious and transparent investigation into all unresolved cases of murders of journalists since the 1986 assassination of the former Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Dele Giwa, and several other journalists whose deaths have not been resolved, including the instant case of Mr. Onifade.

Mr. Longe said MRA was standing with  the Onifade family in demanding, among other things, that the police officer or officers who killed Mr. Onifade must be identified and prosecuted and that pending a full investigation, the officer who led the squad that arrested the young journalist should be held responsible and if he is unable to provide a convincing account of what happened after they left the scene of the arrest and show that Mr. Onifade left his custody alive, should be prosecuted for the killing.

He also called for substantial compensation to the Onifade family for the wrongful killing of their son and a public apology to the family by both the Lagos State Government and Lagos State Police Command.

 For further information, please contact:

Idowu  Adewale
Communications Officer
Media Rights Agenda
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/media-rights-agenda-calls-on-government-to-investigate-the-death-of-tv-reporter/feed/ 0
MRA Calls on Federal Government to Establish Mechanisms to Combat Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-establish-mechanisms-to-combat-impunity-for-crimes-against-journalists/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-establish-mechanisms-to-combat-impunity-for-crimes-against-journalists/#comments Mon, 02 Nov 2020 12:11:48 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15708 Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

Lagos, Monday, November 2, 2020: On the occasion of this year’s International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today called on the Federal Government to facilitate the establishment of mechanisms to combat impunity for attacks and violence against media workers in order to ensure accountability for such acts and discourage future attacks.

In a statement issued in Lagos, MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, insisted that developing and implementing strategies for combatting impunity for attacks and violence against journalists and other media workers was one of the most effective ways of responding to the high incidence of crimes against journalists in the country and preventing future attacks.

He said: “Any failure on the part of government to take decisive action to end impunity for crimes against journalists and put mechanisms in place to respond to, punish perpetrators and prevent future attacks will create a vicious circle where journalists do not get justice for the crimes committed against them while the perpetrators are emboldened and will continue such attacks unchecked.”

Mr. Ojo outlined options open to the Government in developing and implementing such strategies to include the establishment of a multi-stakeholder independent commission; the creation of special investigative units; or the appointment of a special prosecutor as well as the adoption of specific protocols and methods for investigating cases and prosecuting the perpetrators of such attacks while also protecting journalists and media workers who are threatened.

He said the mandate of such a body or official would conceivably include conducting speedy, thorough, independent and effective investigations into all cases of alleged violence, threats and attacks against journalists and media workers, such as physical attacks, assaults, cases of torture, unlawful arrests and detention, threats to life or of physical harm, seizure or destruction of professional equipment, and bringing the perpetrators to justice, including those who ordered the attacks, conspired to carry them out, aided and abetted or covered up such crimes.  The mechanism would also ensure that victims and their families have access to appropriate compensations, assistance and restitution.

Mr. Ojo called on the Federal Government to urgently convene a meeting of stakeholders to discuss the matter in detail, agree on the most effective national mechanism to be adopted and decide how it should operate as well as its powers and functions.

He called on the Government to fulfill its international obligations by launching a serious and transparent investigation into all unresolved cases of murders of journalists, noting that since the 1986 assassination of the former Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Dele Giwa, numerous journalists have been killed in the country and that in none of these cases have the perpetrators been identified, tried in court, convicted and punished for their crimes.

Mr.  Ojo also observed that over the years, there have been hundreds of other cases of attacks on journalists, other media workers and media facilities which have not been seriously investigated and for which the perpetrators have not been prosecuted and punished.

According to him, “Over the last one month, we have witnessed attacks on journalists and media organizations in such numbers, with such intensity and brazenness never before seen in our recent history. While the government’s track record of respect for and protection of media freedom has never been remarkable, events in the past few weeks indicate an escalation in the attacks against the media that is extremely concerning.”

Mr. Ojo argued that the Government’s lukewarm attitude towards attacks on the media, even when government officials or security agents are not the perpetrators, is not only unhelpful to international efforts to combat impunity for crimes against journalists everywhere, but also constitutes an abdication of responsibility.

He contended that although journalists and media organizations are the immediate and primary victims of such attacks, given the important role that the media play in society, including in advancing democratic culture and practice, the ultimate losers are Nigerians in the wider society as most of them would remain ill-informed and even more susceptible to fake news, misinformation and disinformation.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in Resolution A/RES/68/163, adopted on December 18, 2013 in which it urged UN Member States to “do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction and to bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.”

 For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-establish-mechanisms-to-combat-impunity-for-crimes-against-journalists/feed/ 0
MRA, IPC Condemn NBC Fines Against 3 TV Stations Over Coverage of #ENDSARS Protests http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-ipc-condemn-nbc-fines-against-3-tv-stations-over-coverage-of-endsars-protests/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-ipc-condemn-nbc-fines-against-3-tv-stations-over-coverage-of-endsars-protests/#comments Wed, 28 Oct 2020 12:01:56 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15702 Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, Ag. DG, NBC
Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, Ag. DG, NBC

LAGOS, Wednesday, October 28, 2020: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre (IPC) today condemned the sanctioning of three television stations by theNational Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the coverage of the #ENDSARS protests, describing the Commission’s action as an outrageous violation of the Constitution and basic principles of fair hearing which cannot be allowed to stand.

By a letter dated October 23, 2020 signed by its Acting Director General, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, the NBC fined each of the three stations – Channels Television, Africa Independent Television (AIT) and ARISE Television – N3 million as penalty for their alleged use of unsubstantiated footages from social media in their coverage of the #ENDSARS protests and gave them three weeks from the date of receipt of the letter to pay the amount to avoid further sanctions.

The Commission said it had earlier written to them on October 21, 2020, where they were “cautioned on the sustained use of Fake News, disturbing visuals, close-up shots and attacks in the coverage of the ENDSARS protests”.It stated that although social media may be a source of information, it is incumbent on broadcasters to verify such materials before usage and drew attention to some provisions of the Broadcasting Code, implying that the provisions had been breached without indicating any broadcast that breached any of these provisions.

In a Joint Statement issued in Lagos, the two organizations accused the NBC of turning itself into a “kangaroo court” and called on it to immediately reverse its decision sanctioning the three stations in order to save itself the embarrassment that both the Commission and the country would suffer locally and internationally as a result of its action.

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, said “a situation where the NBC, which is so glaringly lacking in independence and subject to the direct control of political authorities,  wrote the Nigeria Broadcasting Code creating the offences for which the stations were sanctioned and was the complainant in the allegations against the stations, prosecuted them and sat in judgment on the matter without even giving the stations any opportunity to defend themselves against the charges while also imposing a fine of N3 million on each of them, which it intends to collect and pocket, is offensive to any notion of fair hearing, equity or justice.”

According to him, “Every Nigerian ought to be scandalized by this obscene violation of a principle that is sacrosanct not only under our Constitution but under every regional and international human rights instrument to which Nigeria is a state party.  It portrays Nigeria as crude and primitive and will no doubt bring the country to ridicule.” He pledged that his organization would take legal action to challenge the NBC’s action.

Mr. Lanre Arogundade, the Executive Director of IPC, spoke in the same vein saying, “The NBC has in this matter again constituted itself into the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge in its own case. It is indeed strange that the fines were arbitrarily imposed without giving the concerned media outlets the option of defending the allegations. All this constitutes an affront on rule of law”

Mr. Arogundade said IPC would team up with MRA to use the instrumentality of the law to challenge the absurdities perpetrated by NBC.

 For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale (Mr.)
Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda (MRA)
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

OR

Olutoyin Ayoade (Ms)
Communications Officer, International Press Centre (IPC)
E-mail: tayoade@ipcng.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-ipc-condemn-nbc-fines-against-3-tv-stations-over-coverage-of-endsars-protests/feed/ 0
MRA Condemns Attacks on the Media During #EndSARS Protests as Reprehensible http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-attacks-on-the-media-during-endsars-protests-as-reprehensible/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-attacks-on-the-media-during-endsars-protests-as-reprehensible/#comments Fri, 23 Oct 2020 10:56:42 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15697 Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police
Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General of Police

LAGOS, Friday, October 23, 2020: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today condemned recent attacks against journalists and media houses in some parts of the country, particularly in Lagos, by State and non-State actors in the wake of the #EndSARS protests, describing the actions as reprehensible acts of intimidation and reprisals against media workers and organizations engaged in the lawful pursuit of their professional functions.

In a statement issued by its Programme Director, Mr. Ayode Longe, MRA said “the failure of the Government and its law enforcement agencies to protect media houses, journalists and other media workers in the face of these threats, wanton acts of harassment and intimidation, arson, physical violence and other violation of media rights is a shameful abdication by the Government of its legal and constitutional responsibility to protect them as well as a breach of its obligations under international human rights Law.

According to Mr. Longe, “The media serve a critically important function in society, particularly in times of crisis and emergencies, as it is imperative that citizens, other members of the public and communities are adequately informed about the prevailing situation, including any threat to their lives or wellbeing. Such acts of intimidation and violence against the media and journalists, as we have witnessed in recent days, undermine their ability to perform their functions and violate the public’s right of access to information.”

He cited recent incidents of attacks against the media, including the October 20 brutalization of two journalists with The Punch newspaper, Mr. Femi Dawodu and Mr. Segun Odunayo, by over 20 policemen while they were covering the #EndSARS protests in the Alausa area of Lagos. The journalists were recording protest activities in the area when the policemen accosted them and ordered them to stop recording. Upon identifying themselves as journalists, the policemen furiously attacked and subsequently took them to the Alausa Police Station where they were further brutalized and asked to change the narrative of their recording. Before they were released, they were warned that the police will come after them if any negative reports about the police were published.

Mr. Longe recalled another instance on the next day, on October 21, when the offices of Television Continental (TVC) in Lagos were attacked allegedly by hoodlums taking advantage of the #EndSARS protests. The mob invaded the offices, destroyed property and burnt vehicles parked in the premises as well as the building housing the television station.

In yet another instance, according to him, the offices of The Nation newspaper, also in Lagos, were attacked and burnt down by suspected hoodlums who were also taking advantage of the protests and were able to carry out their nefarious activities unimpeded despite the imposition of a 24-hour curfew all over Lagos State two days earlier by the Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, which remains in force.

Mr. Longe stressed that there can be no justification for attacking journalists and media houses as such actions are likely to result in self-censorship as journalists and other media workers become fearful that they are being watched and would be attacked by any party to a conflict or any interest group that is displeased with their reporting.

Noting that impunity for such attacks against journalists and media houses would only embolden the perpetrators and encourage future attacks, he called on the Government to ensure accountability for these acts of violence against the media and other violations of their rights by promptly conducting thorough, independent and transparent investigations into all the cases and bringing the perpetrators, including those who ordered, supported or covered up any of these activities, to justice.

He also urged the Government and law enforcement agencies to live up to their responsibilities of ensuring the safety of journalists and other media workers by taking urgent steps and putting in place mechanisms to protect media organizations, journalists and other media workers across the country.

 For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-attacks-on-the-media-during-endsars-protests-as-reprehensible/feed/ 0
MRA Welcomes UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Safety of Journalists, Calls on Government to Fully Implement it http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-welcomes-un-human-rights-council-resolution-on-safety-of-journalists-calls-on-government-to-fully-implement-it/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-welcomes-un-human-rights-council-resolution-on-safety-of-journalists-calls-on-government-to-fully-implement-it/#comments Wed, 07 Oct 2020 13:01:04 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15518 Mr. Edetaen Ojo
Mr. Edetaen Ojo, Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

LAGOS, Wednesday, October 7, 2020:  Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today welcomed the October 6 resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council on the safety of journalists and called on the Federal Government to give full effect to its provisions, including by bringing all its laws, policies and practices into compliance with its obligations under international human rights law, as required by the resolution.

The resolution, A/HRC/45/L.42/Rev.1, introduced by Austria, was adopted by consensus by the 47-member UN Human Rights Council at its 45th Regular Session, which ends today in Geneva, Switzerland.

In a statement in Lagos, MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, urged the Federal Government to fully implement the resolution and, in particular, undertake a comprehensive review of all its laws, policies and practices and, “where necessary, repeal or amend them so that they do not limit the ability of journalists and media workers to perform their work independently and without undue interference.”

He said: “This latest resolution by the Human Rights Council on the safety of journalists is a 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.”

Mr. Ojo highlighted other aspects of the resolution, which he said the Nigerian Government must urgently implement in order to meet its international human rights obligations as outlined in the document, including:

  • Establishing prevention 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;
  • Developing and implementing strategies for combating impunity for attacks and violence against journalists, including by creating special investigative units or independent commissions; appointing a specialized prosecutor; and adopting specific protocols and methods of investigation and prosecution;
  • Ensuring accountability through the conduct of impartial, prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations into all alleged violence, threats and attacks against journalists and media workers and bringing perpetrators, including those who command, conspire to commit, aid and abet or cover up such crimes to justice, and ensuring that victims and their families have access to appropriate restitution, compensation and assistance;
  • Supporting capacity-building, training and awareness-raising in the judiciary and among law enforcement officers and military and security personnel, as well as among media organizations, journalists and civil society, regarding States’ international human rights and international humanitarian law obligations and commitments relating to the safety of journalists;
  • Taking 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;
  • Ensuring that defamation and libel laws are not misused, in particular through excessive criminal sanctions, to illegitimately or arbitrarily censor journalists and interfere with their mission of informing the public, and where necessary revising and repealing such laws, in compliance with Nigeria’s obligations under international human rights law; and
  • 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.

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
Media Rights Agenda, Lagos
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-welcomes-un-human-rights-council-resolution-on-safety-of-journalists-calls-on-government-to-fully-implement-it/feed/ 0
CSO Coalition to Unveil Most Transparent Public Institutions in Nigeria at FOI Ranking Launch on September 28 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/cso-coalition-to-unveil-most-transparent-public-institutions-in-nigeria-at-foi-ranking-launch-on-september-28/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/cso-coalition-to-unveil-most-transparent-public-institutions-in-nigeria-at-foi-ranking-launch-on-september-28/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2020 14:49:28 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15507 Abubakar Malami
Abubakar Malami, Hon. Minister of Justice & Attorney General of the Federation

Abuja, Monday, September 21, 2020: The most transparent public institutions in Nigeria over the last one year as well as the least open and responsive will be unveiled on September 28 at the second edition of the National Freedom of Information (FOI) Ranking scheduled to take place in Abuja as part of activities to commemorate the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), who also has oversight over all public institutions in Nigeria in the implementation of the FOI Act, is expected to be Special Guest of Honour at the event, which is co-organised by six civil society organisations, namely Basic Rights Watch (BRW), BudgIT, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), and Right to Know (R2K).

PPDC’s Chief Executive Officer and Incoming Co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria, Mrs. Nkemdilim Ilo, explained that the FOI Ranking initiative is aimed at promoting the effective implementation of the FOI Act in order to entrench a culture of transparency and accountability in public institutions in the country.

She said:  “The annual FOI Ranking assesses the level of compliance by public institutions with the FOI Act in terms of how responsive they are to requests for information from members of the public as well as the extent to which they are fulfilling their duties under the Act, including their proactive disclosure obligations. The objective of the ranking exercise is to encourage and motivate public institutions across various sectors to improve their compliance practices by showcasing the institutions’ compliance levels for each year in accordance with the requirements of the Act.”

Mrs. Ilo explained that a total of 213 public institutions, including some from the security sector, the Legislature and the Judiciary, were assessed based on a number of parameters which include their proactive disclosure practices, the speed with which they respond to requests for information, the level of disclosure, the provision of FOI training for their officials; whether they have designated and proactively published the contact details of  their FOI Desk Officers as well as their submission and disclosure of annual FOI implementation reports.

Besides Justice Minister Malami, other speakers expected at this year’s ranking include the Chairman of the House or Representatives Committee on FOI, Hon. Prince Cornelius N. Nnaji; and Mr. Edetaen Ojo, MRA’s Executive Director.

The 2020 edition of the International Day for Universal Access to Information will be the first international commemoration of the Day since its proclamation by the UN General Assembly at its 74th Session in New York last October. UN General Assembly in recognition of the significant role access to information plays in the development of a country. Prior to the proclamation, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had also adopted a resolution in November 2015 designating September 28 of every year as IDUAI.

For further information, please contact:

Nnenna Eze
Communications Officer, PPDC
Nnenna@procurenementmonitor.org

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer, MRA
idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

Gambo Ndazhaga Tukura
Communication Officer, BRW
gambotukura12@gmail.com

Iyanu Fatoba
Communications Associate, BudgIT
iyanufatoba@yourbudgit.com

Victoria Etim
Programs Officer R2K, Nigeria
victoria@r2knigeria.org

Abeeb Alawiye
Social Media Officer
aalawiye@icirnigeria.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/cso-coalition-to-unveil-most-transparent-public-institutions-in-nigeria-at-foi-ranking-launch-on-september-28/feed/ 0
MRA Condemns Continued Detention of Journalist, Calls for His Immediate Release http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-continued-detention-of-journalist-calls-for-his-immediate-release/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-continued-detention-of-journalist-calls-for-his-immediate-release/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2020 10:19:07 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15456 Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State Governor
Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom State Governor

LAGOS, Monday, September 21, 2020:  Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today condemned the continued detention of Mr. Ime Sunday Silas, an editor with the privately-owned Global Concord newspaper and publisher of the news website, The Profile, and accused the Government of incrementally damaging Nigeria’s human rights record just to satisfy political egos. It called for the immediate release of the journalist from custody.

Mr. Silas was arrested on August 17, 2020 in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, for publishing a report titled “Exposed: Okobo PDP Chapter Chair links Gov Udom’s Wife with the Plot to Blackmail Deputy Speaker”. He was accused of cyberstalking allegedly in violation of Section 24 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act of 2015.

On August 18, Mr. Silas was charged before a magistrate court and denied bail. His lawyers filed another bail application on August 24, which was granted on September 10. Despite having been  granted bail, Mr. Silas has remained in police custody since his arrest.

Condemning the arrest and prolonged detention of the journalist, MRA’s Programme Officer, Mr. John Gbadamosi, said “Mr. Silas’ detention after the court has granted him bail demonstrates the lengths to which authorities are willing to go to silence journalists who are unwilling to dance to their tune. We strongly condemn such arrogant violation of the Constitution and careless disregard for the rights of a citizen.”

According to him, the arrest and detention of Mr. Silas are in breach of Nigeria’s international treaty obligations, particularly Article 66(2)(c) of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty, in which Nigeria, as a Member State of the Economic Community of West African States, agrees to co-operate with other Member States in the area of information and undertakes to “ensure respect for the rights of journalists.”  Such arrest, detention and prosecution of journalists has been adjudged by the African Court of Human and People’s Rights to be a violation of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty in its binding judgment in the case of Lohe Issa Konate v Burkina Faso, delivered on December 5, 2014.

Mr. Gbadamosi contended that “the arraignment of Mr. Silas for cyberstalking is offensive because the Magistrate Court before which he was charged clearly has no jurisdiction to try the journalist for the offence of cyberstalking under the Cybercrime Act as it is the Federal High Court that is given such jurisdiction by the Law.  Both the resort to the Cybercrimes Act and the use of the Magistrate Court, therefore, were simply part of an effort to legitimize the arrest and detention of the journalist to punish him at all cost in abuse of the judicial process when there is no viable case against him.”

Besides, he said, by charging Mr. Silas with cyberstalking under Section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act, Nigeria is portraying itself as a lawless country and thereby undermining its international image having regard to the fact that the ECOWAS Court of Justice has only recently, in its judgment in the case between the Incorporated Trustees of Law and Rights Awareness Initiatives and Nigeria, delivered five weeks earlier, on July 10, 2020, ordered Nigeria to repeal or amend the section in accordance with its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The ECOWAS Court held in the judgment that by adopting Secion 24 of the Cybercrimes Act, Nigeria was in violation of Article 9(2) of the ACHPR and Article 19(3) of the ICCPR, saying that provisions such as those contained in Section 24 of the Cybercrimes Act “are not necessary in a democratic society and disproportionately violate the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Articles 9(2) of the ACHPR and 19 of the ICCPR.”

MRA is therefore calling on Akwa Ibom State government as well as Nigerian Police Force to immediately release Mr. Silas from detention and stop the unlawful arrest and harassment of journalists using Section 24 of Cybercrime Act as a tool to violate the rights.

The organization also called on the Federal Government to intervene in the matter to ensure the release of Mr. Silas, arguing that the Federal Government is legally liable under international Law for the actions of both the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Police. It also urged the Government to urgently take steps to formally repeal Section 24 of the Cybercrime Act, particularly in the light of the fact that the entire Cybercrime Act has largely been used against journalists and critics of the government rather then cyber criminals.

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
Media Rights Agenda
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-continued-detention-of-journalist-calls-for-his-immediate-release/feed/ 0
MRA Condemns Femi Fani-Kayode’s Attack on Journalist, Calls on those in Authority to Respect Journalists’ Rights http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-femi-fani-kayodes-attack-on-journalist-calls-on-those-in-authority-to-respect-journalists-rights/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-femi-fani-kayodes-attack-on-journalist-calls-on-those-in-authority-to-respect-journalists-rights/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2020 15:28:51 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=15249 Femi Fani-Kayode
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, Former Aviation Minister

LAGOS, Wednesday, August 26, 2020: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today condemned Mr. Femi Fani Kayode’s outburst against Mr. Charles Eyo, Daily Trust newspaper’s Cross River State Correspondent in Calabar, yesterday, August 25, 2020 for asking a simple question to enable him get a fuller picture of his trips round the country, saying such action is unbefitting of a public figure like him.

Mr. Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation, undertook “official visits” to some states to assess the performance of governors, although he no longer holds any public office. He was rounding off his visit to Cross River State with a press conference at which Mr. Eyo asked him who was bankrolling his trips around Nigeria. Rather than responding to the question, Mr. Fani-Kayode chose to verbally attack the journalist, raising voice for several minutes and hauling insults at the journalist whom he called “stupid” and “small minded”.  He then threatened to inflict bodily harm on the journalist.

In a statement issued by Mr. Ayode Longe, MRA’s Director of Programmes, the organization condemned Mr. Fani-Kayode’s action, saying he should not have called a press conference if he was not willing to subject himself and his actions to scrutiny and had no business assessing the performance of anybody when he so strongly resents being asked to account for his actions.

Mr. Longe said: “Mr. Eyo was absolutely within his rights to ask of Mr. Fani-Kayode the question that he did. Any public figure of Mr. Fani-Kayode’s standing or any individual for that matter who voluntarily inserts himself into the public arena must expect to be subjected to public scrutiny. We applaud the journalist’s professionalism in understanding that he was not there to lap up without question any suspicious claim that the former minister and politician was making. If Mr. Fani-Kayode expected otherwise, then we have no choice but to regard yesterday as a great day for journalism in Nigeria because he was made to realize that he was sorely mistaken!”

According to him, “Mr. Eyo’s question was an opportunity for the former minister to detail the purpose and value of his trip as well as his findings and demonstrate that he is capable of personally funding his trip and not depend on anyone to bankroll it, if that was truly the case. Instead of seizing on the opportunity the question offered, as is characteristic of him, he lost his temper and resorted to insults. Allowing his emotions to take control of him was a descent into the gutter for the former minister.”

He said it was ironic that Mr. Fani-Kayode who is so quick to criticize and even insult others, including persons old enough to be his parents and those holding high offices, he has no tolerance himself for a simple thing like being asked by a journalist to explain who was funding his undertaking.

Mr. Longe noted although Mr. Fani-Kayode has apologized and retracted his insults in his statement where he said “I hereby withdraw the word ‘stupid’ which I used in my encounter with a journalist in Calabar,” it was nonetheless necessary to remind him and others like him that “whenever former or serving public office holders decide to injected themselves into the public space, they are under an obligation at any time to render account of what they have done or are doing and therefore must be ready to respond to unlikely questions like that from Mr. Eyo. A journalist who cannot ask probing question beyond what is already said is not worth his salt.”

Reminding Mr. Fani-Kayode and all former and serving political office holders that they should be ready to be held to a high standard of accountability at all times, he called on the politician to make an effort to learn civility so that he can be civil in future in his dealings with journalists and the media who serve as bridge between public figures and members of the public.

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-condemns-femi-fani-kayodes-attack-on-journalist-calls-on-those-in-authority-to-respect-journalists-rights/feed/ 0
MRA Calls on Federal Government to Ensure Safety, Release of Kidnapped Radio Presenter http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-ensure-safety-release-of-kidnapped-radio-presenter/ http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-ensure-safety-release-of-kidnapped-radio-presenter/#comments Wed, 06 May 2020 20:37:47 +0000 http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/?p=14814 Chinenye Iwuoha,  Pacesetter FM Radio Presenter
Chinenye Iwuoha, Pacesetter FM Radio Presenter

Lagos, Wednesday, May 6, 2020: Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today condemned Monday’s abduction of Ms Chinenye Iwuoha, a presenter with the Pacesetter FM station of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Umuahia, Abia State, by gunmen and called on the Federal Government and its law enforcement agencies to take urgent action to ensure the safety of the journalist and secure her release.

Ms. Iwuoha was reportedly kidnapped by gunmen at about 7pm on May 4 on her way home from work. She was reported to have been traveling in a vehicle with the station’s general manager and the other employees when they were attacked by the gunmen who then abducted Ms Iwuoha. The gunmen are reported to have later made a ransom demand to the station for the payment of N20 million for the release of the presenter.

In a statement in Lagos, Mr Ayode Longe, MRA’s Director of Programmes, reminded the Federal Government that although it had a duty to ensure the security of all citizens, where media practitioners are concerned, it has a heightened responsibility to protect them as they are performing an essential function in the interest of the society as mandated by the Constitution.

Besides, Mr. Longe said, the Government also has an obligation under international instruments which it has voluntarily acceded to, to provide a safe and conducive environment for journalists and other media workers to carry out their work as well as to ensure their safety.

He noted that there has been a recent upsurge in attacks against journalists and other media workers in Nigeria by public office holders, law enforcement and security agents as well as non-state actors, saying that any failure on the part of the Government to act decisively in the case of Ms Iwuoha would likely embolden other groups and individuals who would thereby be tempted to think that they can get away with such attacks.

Mr. Longe asked the Government to ensure that perpetrators of the attack on Ms Iwouha are apprehended and brought to justice in order to send a strong message to criminal elements in the society as well as other actors who seek to harm journalists as a means of silencing them that there will be no impunity for such acts.

For further information, please contact:

Idowu Adewale
Communications Officer
Media Rights Agenda, Lagos
E-mail: idowu@mediarightsagenda.org

]]>
http://mediarightsagenda.net/web/mra-calls-on-federal-government-to-ensure-safety-release-of-kidnapped-radio-presenter/feed/ 0