Media Rights Agenda (MRA) was established in 1993 as an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit, non-governmental organization for the purpose of promoting and protecting the right to freedom of expression, media freedom, access to information as well as digital rights and freedoms.
It was incorporated in 1997 with the Corporate Affairs Commission under Part C (Incorporated Trustees) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990 and has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Banjul, The Gambia.
Vision, Mission and Values
The Vision, Mission and Values of Media Rights Agenda are as follows:
Media Rights Agenda envisions a society where human rights are safeguarded and citizens are empowered to demand and ensure good governance through the unhindered exercise of their free speech rights.
The mission of Media Rights Agenda is to:
- Promote and defend the right to freedom of expression, irrespective of the medium, as an enabler of other human rights.
- Open up the society through the promotion and enforcement of the right to information
- Gender equity and equality
MRA’s Aims and Objectives are:
- to promote respect and recognition for press freedom and freedom of expression in Nigeria;
- to provide protection and support for journalists and writers engaged in the lawful pursuit of their professional duties;
- to promote the highest standards of professionals ethics, integrity, training and conduct in the journalism profession;
- to bring about a conducive social and legal atmosphere for the practice of journalism, and ensure the protection of the journalists’ right not to be compelled to work against his or her conviction or disclose confidential sources of information; and
- to promote citizens’ right of access to records and information held by governments and public institutions.
- to promote and protect the right to freedom of expression and other human rights online
MRA’s activities are varied and include, but not limited to, the following:
Research and Publication
Under this programme, Media Rights Agenda has produced a number of publications on various issues which affect media freedom, freedom of expression, access to information and digital rights.
Under its Litigation Programme, Media Rights Agenda offers legal assistance to journalists who are arrested and detained, subjected to oppressive criminal charges in the course of their professional duties, assaulted, or harassed and intimidated in any other manner.
MRA also litigates in class actions aimed at eliciting broad judicial pronouncements with positive implications for media freedoms.
It has pursued both approaches at Nigerian domestic courts as well as before international judicial forums, including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights where it has litigated more cases on freedom of expression and media freedom than any other organization on the continent.
It also offers free legal services and representations for individuals and civil society organisations denied of access to information request from relevant institutions through its nationwide network of FOI lawyers.
MRA runs an Advocacy and Campaigns Programme under which it campaigned for the reform of media laws in Nigeria and championed the campaign for the enactment of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria.
The Freedom of Information Bill proposed by Media Rights Agenda to the National Assembly in Nigeria and passed into law on May 28, 2011 guarantees citizens’ and non-citizens’ right to access information in the custody of government, its agencies and institutions as well as private bodies carrying out public functions.
In addition to carrying out local campaigns on issues of media freedom and freedom of expression generally, MRA also conducts international campaigns using international human rights procedures and mechanisms. Such campaigns are used mainly in cases of the arrest and detention of journalists, other acts of harassment and intimidation of journalists, closure of press facilities, proscription of media establishments and publications in challenging repressive press laws. As part of this effort, MRA has filed complaints and communications to the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa; the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, the (now defunct) United Nations Country Special Rapporteur on Nigeria; and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges.
MRA is also involved in the Africa-wide campaign for the adoption of Access to Information laws and Internet rights and freedoms that meets internationally accepted standards and principles.
MRA organises training workshops, seminars and conference on a variety of issues affecting the media, journalism practice, freedom of expression, the right of access to information, and digital rights and freedoms. It also exposes practicing journalists to training opportunities available outside Nigeria and, in some cases, assists journalists with securing admission to such training programmes.
Media Rights Agenda has three levels of governance and operations. These are: the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee and the Secretariat.
The Board of Trustees represents the legal personality of the organisation while the Executive Committee is the policy making organ of Media Rights Agenda.
The Secretariat consists of full-time staff, interns, and volunteers, and is headed by the Executive Director. The Secretariat is responsible for the day to day operations of the organization and the implementation of its projects. MRA also engages the services of consultants from time to time in implementing projects where internal capacity needs to be supplemented.
Media Rights Agenda
21 Budland Street
Off Isheri Road,
P. O. Box 52113, Ikoyi
Facebook: Media Rights Agenda