Communique issued at the end of the 2019 World Press Freedom Day Celebration in Abuja

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PREAMBLE

 

We, the participants at the 2019 World Press Freedom Day, organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), in collaboration with the Free Press Unlimited, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Centre Against Brutality and for Safety of Journalist in Africa (CABSOJA), Centre for Impact Advocacy (CiA), and Safer Media Initiative, on Thursday May 2, 2019 at Rockview (Royale) Hotel Abuja, having listened to presentations and participated in panel discussions and critiques of papers presented; taking into consideration the contributions and debates by participants, have agreed on the following observations, outcomes and action points going forward:

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That journalists should uphold the ethics and professionalism of journalism practice for effective and efficient news reportage of democratic and electoral issues in Nigeria.

 

That government and media owners should prevent and avoid censorship, given the fact that media shape how we interpret and observe political information, such as election coverage and other political events.

 

That the media should provide unbiased report to the citizenry before, during, and after elections. Media is critical in providing information to shape the social, legal, political, economic and cultural perception and understanding of stakeholders’ and electorates’ participation in electoral processes.

 

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That government and media practitioners should embrace the use of technology in advancing journalism in times of elections.

 

That the government, media owners, NUJ, and NPC should continually train and retrain journalists in order to ensure that ethical standards, professionalism and gender inclusiveness are adhered to.

 

That journalists should be given free access to report court proceedings on pre- and post-electoral issues in as much as such reportage is fair, balanced and conforms to the ethics and principles of the profession.

 

That media owners should be held accountable by the NUJ so as to ensure the protection and welfare of journalists. This includes insurance coverage.

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That law enforcement agencies should recognize the constitutional rights of journalist to receive, hold, and disseminate information without hindrance to the public, and journalists safety should be ensured at all times.

 

DATED THIS 2nd DAY OF May, 2019

 

Ochiaka Ugwu

Secretary, Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Council




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