By Albert Akota
The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, has urged the Nigerian government to ensure the security of media outlets and journalists following attacks on offices of five media houses in Lagos.
The offices of The Nation, the country’s leading daily; the popular private television channel TVC; and
radio broadcasters Radio Lagos, Eko FM and Traffic FM were attacked by demonstrators who have been protesting against police brutality for over two weeks now.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the wanton destruction of media assets by protesters”, IPI Nigeria National Committee Chair Kabiru Yusuf said. “While we recognise the right of any aggrieved Nigerian to seek redress through lawful means, including peaceful protests, assault on media houses is dangerous and unacceptable.”
Protestors set fire to the office of Vintage Press Limited, publishers of The Nation, on Wednesday evening after invading the premises. Some of the vehicles parked in the premises were also set afire and the intruders looted computers and other office equipment, Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief Victor Ifijeh said in a statement.
Similarly, attackers set ablaze the office of TVC Network in another part of Lagos. The offices of Radio Lagos, Eko FM and Traffic FM were also attacked.
Meanwhile, another prominent TV network, Channels TV, briefly went off air fearing attack by protestors.
“The government should immediately provide security to all media organizations and ensure the safety of journalists in Lagos and in other parts of the country where protests are taking place”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that journalists and media outlets can do their job in reporting on events of public interest without fear.