By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
As Nigeria prepares for its 2019 general elections, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), has tasked the media to ensure the electoral process is conducted transparently with respect to rule of law.
AMDF Coordinator, Sekyen Dadik, made the call on Wednesday, in Kaduna, North West Nigeria, during a press conference to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day.
She reiterates AMDF’s commitment in promoting press freedom and enhancing the knowledge and skills of journalists so they can be effective in the pursuance of sustainable development.
According to her, “AMDF strongly believes that for any development goal to be achieved and sustained the media must be strategically positioned, hence the need for the media to be equipped so it can contribute meaningfully to the development discourse.
“This year’s global theme: ‘Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law’ as noted by UNESCO highlights the gains of an enabling legal environment for press freedom and the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and prosecution of crimes against journalists.
“The theme also addresses the role of media in sustainable development especially during elections as a watchdog for fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law. Hence, AMDF believes it is a call for Nigerian journalists to reflect on their role in defending and preserving Nigeria’s democracy.
“As we remember the 79 journalists assassinated worldwide in 2017, we also stand with journalists who were attacked or threatened in the cause of contributing towards a just, informed and enlightened society.”
Seyken, added that, “the 2018 Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders pegs Nigeria at 119 out of 180 countries from 122 in 2017. It revealed state governors as the ‘media’s most determined prosecutors’, acting with complete impunity. This no doubt becomes a threat to investigative reporting or any form of in-depth reporting.
“We therefore call on all and sundry; especially those in authority to support in creating a favorable atmosphere for journalists to thrive in their profession without fear and intimidation.
“AMDF strongly commends the tenacity of African Journalists who have against all odds of intimidation, poor or no remuneration remained watch dogs of the society. This steadfastness must be recognized and upheld!”