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Journalists knock Buhari, El-Rufai over violation of press freedom

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Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai PHOTO: TWITTER/GOVERNOR KADUNA

President Muhammad Buhari’s administration yesterday came under heavy criticism for alleged violation of press freedom in the country, as journalists accused it of derailing democracy.

Former Director General, Media and Publicity to former Governor Ramallan Yero of Kaduna State, Ahmed Maiyaki, who delivered a lecture at the World Press Freedom Day, said President Buhari and some governors have shown high level of intolerance to the media under the present dispensation.

Although, Maiyaki said violation of press freedom has become a common phenomenon in other climes globally, he, however, noted that it had become even more prevalent in Nigeria.

He said: “In Nigeria, there is also serious concern about the continuous harassment and gang up against journalists by various governments and security agencies in the country.

“Several journalists have been intimidated, arrested and jailed at various times by security agencies and some state governors including some of our colleagues here in Kaduna State within the last few years under Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s watch.”

Maiyaki argued that there was a growing sense that Nigeria was losing its democratic temperament based on declining press freedom rating.

“According to the 2017 World Press Freedom ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Nigeria, again, recorded a decline in the international press freedom index, with six per cent regression between 2016 and 2017. 

“Nigeria declined from 111 in 2016 to 122 in 2017, out of 180 countries rated on the press freedom index. This, indeed, is worrisome,” he added.

He, therefore, advised journalists not to succumb to the intimidation and harassment of the Buhari government, saying: “Keeping power in check is a simple and innocuous way of defining the media’s watchdog role.”

Citing Benedict O. and Okechukwu C. in a recently published journal: “The watchdog role is a constitutional duty of the press to ensure that government is responsible and accountable to the people.

However, one major approach deployed by the press to enforce this crucial watchdog role is through investigative journalism,” he added.


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