By Evelyn Okakwu & Aisha Biola Raji
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in collaboration with the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO), has inaugurated a national panel to access cases of impunity against journalists in the country.
Speaking during this year’s programme, to mark the International Day to End Impunity against Journalists, the NUJ President, comrade Mohammed Garba said the National Monitoring Network on Safety of Journalists will investigate the increasing cases of impunity against journalists in the country.
He noted that, “In addition to attacks on journalists integrated or tolerated by the authorities, African Journalists are now facing a new ruthless and non-state player in the form of armed militants, which comprise terrorists across the globe.
The NUJ president therefore, said it was in the light of the present challenges that the NUJ and Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) had become committed to the course of defending journalists by waging a resolute campaign at both African and global levels.
Speaking also at the event, UNESCO’s director of regional office in Abuja prof. Hassana Alidou stated that, “The society as a whole suffers from impunity. When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, this sends a very negative signal that reporting ‘embarrassing truths’ or ‘unwanted opinions’, will get ordinary people in trouble. Without freedom of expression and particularly, freedom of the press, an informed active and engaged citizenry is impossible.
According to the NUJ president “The panel of twelve members is expected to monitor and document cases of impunity. It was part of the resolution of the FAJ to monitor and document cases of impunity, so that we can have such cases well documented”.
“The committee will be responsible for ascertaining what really happened in any reported case of impunity”, the NUJ president noted.