In commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on September 28, 2017, the International Press Centre (IPC) announced the launch of “the Nigerian Journalists Internet Rights Initiative (NJIRI)”, a one- year campaign which aims to advance the right to freedom of expression for Nigerian journalists online, based on the premise that internet spaces and online platforms should be safe and free for journalists and other media practitioners to use as media of information and engagement.
Making the announcement, the Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said that the main objectives of the NJIRI are to defend Internet and Digital Rights as well as the safety of journalists online.
Mr. Arogundade stated that the trend of indiscriminate attacks on journalists, bloggers and others online has become worrisome and there is the need to demand for the safety of journalists online.
He said these objectives align with the principles of the IDUAI given its relevance to the new 2030 Development Agenda, and in particular the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.10 which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.
Mr. Arogundade further stated that, NJIRI is being supported by the International Freedom of Exchange (IFEX), a network of international freedom of expression organizations headquartered in Toronto, Canada. It is expected that through the project, the right to freedom of expression for online journalism in Nigeria is respected, protected and guaranteed within the medium and long term.
As part of the project a research report titled “Issues in frameworks, freedom of expression and Internet rights in Nigeria: A baseline research by the Nigerian Journalists Internet Rights Initiative (NJIRI)” has been commissioned and is being reviewed following which there will be a public presentation and dissemination to stakeholder groups in the freedom of expression community.
It is also envisaged that the research report would play a critical role in the NJIRI campaign as it will serve as referral document for engagement with statutory bodies and related stakeholders groups under the NJIRI.
He said the IPC project recognizes that universal access is central to the UN’s World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which recognized the ambition of developing inclusive Knowledge Societies adding that “accessibility” is also recognized as one of the four principles in UNESCO’s ROAM model of Internet universality.