Safety Of Journalists

By Usman Mohammed

Life is no longer imaginable without newspapers, the internet, radio

and television. Knowledge and information, more than any other,

disseminated in different ways and in various forms have a tremendous

impact on the self- awareness of all the citizens of the world and on

international relations. Even before the independence of Nigeria,

journalists across the globe contributed immensely - by promoting and

consolidating democratic values - to ensuring that the freedom of

journalist was not threatened. Each of you - your professionalism,

ability to uncover and tell the truth, raise most sensitive problems,

mobilize society, and discuss the most painful topics - has helped

create a more civic-minded and self-conscious society.

I am very pleased with the ability of the experts, professional and

experience media practitioners both online, print and broadcast media

outlets who have decided to discuss such an important and at the same

time, most complicated issue as the safety of journalists.

The number of threats to journalists and media professionals have been

on the rise in recent years.
Many of them were arrested, persecuted, murdered, or subjected to

media restrictions.
Often, we fail to realize that if one journalist is victimized, all of

us are victimized because the journalist's message cannot reach us.

If we could make our journalists feel safe and secure, we would ensure

the rights of all our citizens to the freedom of information and of

course, the right of the media to do its work without fear. It is a

duty of governments and societies to make sure that all citizens can

exercise their rights and freedoms and that those who attempt to

violate them are punished immediately.
However, violence against journalists and against the free word and

pluralism may take any other than physical form. The freedom to

publish impartial and timely information is limited by political

ideologies, business interests and, even more frequently, by

corruption. This happens because groupings are formed which do not

want to and cannot accept the truth. And also because of the fact that

the truth is not always simple or straight forward.

We are used to having, and we wish to always have, swift and best

quality information from the hot spots and far-away countries or about

the covered-up illegal processes in our countries.
Therefore, we should respect and be proud of those who take the risk

searching for the truth even when their life, health or dignity is

I pray that my article to bring the journalist community together,

make its solidarity stronger, encourage it to speak up openly and

loudly about the real situation in the media, mobilize and unite not

only journalist organizations, but also the academic community, media

experts and international institutions responsible for informing the

society, and jointly explore the solutions to strengthen the Nigerian

and world media space. Ameen.