President of the Ninth Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has said that impunity for crimes against journalists threatens democracy and undermines freedom of the press.
Lawan stated this known in a statement by his Media Adviser, Ezrel Tabiowo, Dr Ezrel Tabiowo, to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
The lawmaker, who represents Yobe North Senatorial District in the National Assembly, stressed the crucial role played by journalists in promoting accountability and upholding democratic values.
Citing data from the United Nations Observatory of Killed Journalists, Lawan noted that journalists were endangered with over 1,600 journalists killed around the world in the last 17 years.
He called on governments, institutions, and civil society organizations to work collectively to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for attacks against journalists.
Lawan further advocated for a national plan to establish protective measures that guarantee the safety of journalists and end impunity.
The statement reads, “I join the international community in marking the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists today. This day serves as a stark reminder of the perils faced by journalists worldwide and the urgent need to address the issue of impunity for crimes committed against them.
“This year, the annual commemoration is especially significant, as it highlights the crucial role journalists play in providing unbiased information, promoting accountability, and upholding democratic values. However, journalists continue to face alarming risks, including violence, intimidation, and even targeted killings, simply for reporting on critical issues or exposing corruption.
“Impunity for crimes against journalists remains a grave concern. Lack of accountability perpetuates a climate of fear, silencing not only journalists but also those seeking the truth and defending human rights. I firmly believe that impunity for these crimes undermines press freedom, erodes democracy, and threatens the foundation of any just society.
“According to the UNESCO Observatory of Killed Journalists, over 1,600 journalists have been killed around the world between 2006 and 2023, with close to 9 out of 10 cases of these killings remaining judicially unresolved.
“It is imperative for governments, institutions, and civil society organizations to work collectively to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for attacks against journalists. Through comprehensive legal frameworks, effective investigation mechanisms, and unbiased judicial processes, we can combat impunity, safeguard freedom of expression, and protect those on the frontlines of truth.
“I call on governments to prioritize the safety of journalists and create an environment where they can report independently, without fear of reprisals. It is essential to establish protective measures, such as national action plans, to guarantee the safety of journalists and end impunity.
“Moreover, education is vital in combating impunity. By raising awareness about the threats faced by journalists and promoting media literacy, we can foster a culture of respect for journalism and cultivate a society that values press freedom as a cornerstone of democracy.
“On this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting press freedom and defending the rights of journalists worldwide. I urge all stakeholders to take immediate action to end impunity and protect those who work tirelessly to bring truth to light.”