A former Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Lawan says, crimes against journalists threaten democracy and undermine freedom of the press.
This is contained in a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Mr Ezrel Tabiowo on Thursday in Abuja to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
The lawmaker, who represented Yobe North, underscored the crucial role played by journalists in promoting accountability and upholding democratic values.
Lawan advocated for a national plan to establish protective measures that would guarantee the safety of journalists and end impunity against them.
“I join the international community in marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists today.
“This day serves as a stark reminder of the perils faced by journalists worldwide and the urgent need to address the issue of impunity for crimes committed against them.
“This year, the annual commemoration is especially significant, as it highlights the crucial role journalists play in providing unbiased information, promoting accountability, and upholding democratic values.
“However, journalists continue to face alarming risks, including violence, intimidation, and even targeted killings, simply for reporting on critical issues or exposing corruption.
“Crimes against journalists remain a grave concern. Lack of accountability perpetuates a climate of fear, silencing not only journalists but also those seeking the truth and defending human rights,” he said.
He added: “I firmly believe that impunity and crimes against Journalists undermines press freedom, erodes democracy and threatens the foundation of any just society.
“According to the UNESCO Observatory of Killed Journalists, over 1,600 journalists have been killed around the world between 2006 and 2023, with close to nine out of 10 cases of these killings remaining judicially unresolved.
“It is imperative for governments, institutions, and civil society organisations to work collectively to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for journalists who suffered attacks.
“Through comprehensive legal frameworks, effective investigation mechanisms, and unbiased judicial processes, we can combat impunity, safeguard freedom of expression, and protect those on the frontlines of truth.’’
He called on governments to prioritize the safety of journalists and create an environment where they could report independently, without fear of reprisals.
He said it was essential to establish protective measures, such as national action plans, to guarantee the safety of journalists and end impunity.
“Moreover, education is a vital tool in combating impunity.
“By raising awareness about the threats faced by journalists and promoting media literacy, we can foster a culture of respect for journalism and cultivate a society that values press freedom as a cornerstone of democracy.
“On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting press freedom and defending the rights of journalists worldwide.
“I urge all stakeholders to take immediate action to end impunity and protect those who work tirelessly to bring truth to light,” he said.(NAN)