Media stakeholders at the 2013 World Press Freedom Day seminar held on May 3 in Lagos on “Ensuring the Security of Journalists” have called for the effective implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
In a Final Statement issued at the end of the seminar, jointly organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos and Media Rights Agenda (MRA), participants called on media practitioners to familiarize themselves with the UN Plan of Action so as to be able to create awareness about it within the larger society and pursue its effective implementation in the Nigerian context.
The seminar was attended by about 50 participants from the print, broadcast and online media; human rights and civil society organisations, the Nigeria Police, and members of the public.
Guest speakers at the seminar were CSP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police who spoke on “Role of the Nigeria Police in Protecting the Rights of Journalists”; Mr. Femi Adesina, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), who spoke on “Building Partnerships between the Media and Law Enforcement Agencies to Ensure the Safety of Journalists”; and Mr. Gbenga Sesan, the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), who spoke on “Strategies for Securing the Safety of Journalists Online”.
The speakers and participants also called for mutual trust between the media and security agencies to ensure understanding and safety of journalists.
The event was held in the context of the global celebrations with the theme: “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” and put the spotlight in particular on the issues of safety of journalists, combating impunity for crimes against freedom of expression, and securing a free and open Internet as the precondition for safety online.
In line with the global theme, the seminar highlighted the issue of the safety of journalists, its implications for the right to freedom of expression, not only for the journalists, but also for their audiences. It also sought to create awareness about the UN Plan of Action.