It is a date to encourage and develop initiatives in favour of press
freedom, and to assess the state of press freedom worldwide. It serves as a
reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to
press freedom and is also a day of reflection among media professionals
about issues of press freedom and professional ethics. Just as importantly,
World Press Freedom Day is a day of support for media which are targets for the restraint, or abolition, of press freedom.
It is also a day of remembrance for those journalists who lost their lives in
the exercise of their profession. Even though Nigeria, after almost a
decade, now has the Freedom of Information Act, last month, April 4,
judiciary correspondents attached to the Ikeja division of the state High Court were arrested and beaten up mercilessly on the orders of a
magistrate for allegedly flouting her directive not to report proceedings in her court.
In Nigeria, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) uploaded its message only on May
3. The You Tube videos were about significance of the World Press
Freedom Day, Freedom of Information; Media Freedom in Nigeria; Safety
of Journalists; and the need for citizens to see attacks on journalists and media houses as attack on their rights to be informed and to rise and fight
for media Freedom.
Today, attack on the media has become more murderous. Reporters are
attacked and killed with impunity. Magistrates beat up and jail journalists at will, and terrorists bomb and threaten media houses at will. On World
Press Freedom Day, in Nigeria, the various press groups expected to
champion the rights of journalists simply forgot it. The Minister of
Information did not say a word about it. Yet, it is an axiom that a free
country needs a free press.
However, Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights
states that everyone “has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;
this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and
regardless of frontiers”. Bombing, killigs, reprssion of any form is not part