“Freedom of expression and Press Freedom is the hallmark to preserving and protecting our nation’s democracy.”
This was stated by Dr. Rukayya Aliyu Yusuf of the Department of Information and Media Studies, BUK, while welcoming guest to the Public Discuss marking World Press freedom day 2018 held at the Faculty of Communication, Bayero University Kano.
The commemoration themed “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law” had in attendance the Bureau Chief of Daily Trust Kano; Mr. Yusha’u Ibraheem, News Editor Freedom Radio; Abdulateef Abubakar Jos, Mustapha Muhammad of the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC), Auwalu Salisu of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Nasir Muhammad of Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV), Academics, Students, Journalists, Media Professionals and Consultants from all walks of life.
In his paper presentation titled freedom of expression and security of Journalist in Contemporary Nigeria,
Mallam Umar Jibril Gwandu of the Department of Mass Communication noted that Nigeria is currently ranking 119 of 145 a slight improvement from where Nigeria is coming from since it’s return to Democracy in the current Republic.
This he said was according to World Press Freedom Index from reporters without Borders.
However, murder, threat and arrests, instance of seizure of equipment, vandalization of premises, closure of Media outlet, abstraction of access to information, and lawsuit against Journalist are threats being increasingly faced by masters of the pen profession in Nigeria.
He pointed out that while the murder of journalist, Dele Giwa, still remains fresh in our memory, recent harassment of Tony Ozomaku of Independent Newspaper in February 2018, illegal arrest of Journalists Tim and Daniel Elombah charged with alleged cybercrime, Kemi Olunlayo for defamation, Charles Otu of the People’s Conscious and Police raid on Premium Times facilities followed by arrests of its top boss, Dapo Olorunyomi, are cause for serious concern among practicing Journalists in Nigeria.
He pointed out that the closer it is the elections, the more deadlier it becomes for Journalists.
Narrating his own experience on the field, Mallam Yusha’u Ibraheem recalled his ordeal with a former Governor of Jigawa State in 2009 who even plotted to assassinate him with DSS operatives.
Mustapha Muhammad of the BBC, also went down memory lane of his experience with the Military and top Borno Politicians while reporting insurgency in Borno State.
He recalled that at a point, when the threat to his life became daunting, he had to exile to neighbouring Yobe State.
On his own part, Abdulateef Abubakar Jos recalled his encounter with the Chief Whip of the National Assembly, Alhassan Ado Doguwa during the budget padding saga.
He stated that prior to his interview with Doguwa, he had laid his hand on some information which indicated that Doguwa had received about 1.5 billion Naira as constituency project whereas others were receiving less than 300 million Naira.
He revealed that Doguwa had flared up immediately he had asked him questions on the alleged money, threatening him in the process.
It was not until intervention of people in the studio that Doguwa collected himself and apologised, however, throwing incentive at the reporter with a bank job to which the reporter declined.
Other stakeholders who spoke at the event urged Journalists to always be conscious and uphold ethics of the profession at all times.
By M.D. Lawal