The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has stressed the need for collaboration among stakeholders to end the culture of impunity for crimes against journalists, urging that laws that protect those who dig up truth and ensure probity be enacted.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists marked every November 2 by the United Nations (UN).
The governor said there was a need for urgent steps by governments, media principals, and the people to curb the growing trend of impunity for crimes against journalists, adding, “It is regrettable that people act with impunity when crimes are committed against journalists. This is because as watchdogs, the role of journalists is germane to attaining a just and equitable society.
“They are charged with the onerous role of comforting the afflicted.
But in carrying out these duties, they have gotten little in return, welfare-wise. Their families don’t get the best of treatment when they are killed in the line of duty; their salaries are a pittance when compared to the odds they wade against and talk of pension when they retire is paid lip-service. Hence, it is only humane and responsible to seek for their best interest.”
Noting that the high rise in crimes against journalists calls for urgent action worldwide, he said, “Governments must ensure that journalists are afforded the best of environment and laws to guide their practice as their mandate to speak truth to power is sacrosanct. Just as we have elevated law and order as a cardinal point of the Edo State government, we also recognise the supremacy of truth and accountability in relating with the people. So, when journalists are attacked for conducting their constitutional roles, it only draws society backward. We urge responsive and deliberate action to end this worldwide.
According to the governor, “It is regrettable that Nigeria has unresolved cases of killings and violent crimes against journalists. That these still happen in the country, requires of us to do more. Hence all stakeholders must work in unison to enact and implement laws that further protect journalists.”