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IPC launches new initiative to mark World Press Freedom Day

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Abdulwaheed Odusile

In order to mark World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2018, International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, will launch ‘The Nigerian Journalists Internet Rights Initiative (NJIRI)’ tomorrow, May 2.

Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement said NJIRI aims to advance the right to freedom of expression for online journalists in Nigeria and ensure that internet spaces and online platforms are safe and free of institutional limitations for journalists and other media practitioners to use as mediums of information and engagement.

He further stated that 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)’ will be presented and disseminated to stakeholder groups in the freedom of expression community as a key feature of the official launch of NJIRI.

Arogundade explained that IPC recognises the need to use the WPFD to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.

In line with this, IPC therefore calls for the prompt Assent of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill.
 
A tweet conference session will be held as part of the launch, focusing on the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on December 19, 2017, and was similarly passed by the Senate, on March 13.

The piece of legislation that is proposed for “an act to provide for the protection of human rights online, to protect internet users in Nigeria from infringement of their fundamental freedoms and to guarantee application of human rights for users of digital platform and/or digital media and for related matters’.

IPC will use the session to address new challenges to journalists’ press freedom online in Nigeria, increasing awareness on the bill and to engage stakeholders to advocate for prompt presidential assent of the bill.

Representatives of paradigm initiative, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), and the (Online) nation newspaper will deliver presentations.


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