Surge in Attacks on Journalists Spurs Urgent Calls for Protective Legislation

By Joke Kujenya

AN ALARM has been sounded by the Media Rights Agenda (MRA), revealing a concerning surge in assaults targeting journalists and media houses, with a staggering 45 attacks reported within just one year under President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

According to Edetaen Ojo, MRA’s executive director, law enforcement and security agencies are implicated in a substantial 62 percent of these documented attacks, while hoodlums and thugs are responsible for 16 percent.

Furthermore, unidentified assailants, including kidnappers and armed individuals, contribute to 15 percent of the assaults. Shockingly, none of the perpetrators have faced legal repercussions, with impunity prevailing.

Expressing grave concern, Ojo emphasized the urgent necessity for legislative measures to safeguard journalists and media entities, aligning with international standards.

The organization’s statement underscores the severity of the situation, highlighting the diverse forms of violence endured by media professionals, including arbitrary arrests, detentions, kidnappings, threats, physical assaults, and even fatalities. Both male and female journalists have fallen victim to these attacks, indicating a widespread threat to press freedom.

Over the past year, MRA diligently monitored the media landscape during Tinubu’s inaugural term, revealing a distressing pattern of assaults against journalists and media establishments.

Out of the 45 recorded attacks, the majority targeted male journalists, comprising 82 percent, while female journalists and media houses accounted for 9 percent each.

This harrowing trend underscores the imperative for collective action to defend media freedom and ensure the safety of journalists.

MRA calls for heightened collaboration to address the escalating risks faced by journalists and uphold the fundamental principles of press freedom in Nigeria.

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