Promoting the Safety of Journalists in Nigeria during the electoral period 2014-2015
In the context of electoral violence in Africa, the media have paid a great price, with journalists intimidated, harassed and sometimes killed. There have been cases of rival political groups attacking and vandalizing media houses owing to disputes over coverage.
Since the landmark elections in Nigeria in 1999, each electoral period in the country has witnessed spates of violence, corruption and irregularities. Nevertheless, elections have been held regularly and uninterrupted on four occasions, demonstrating the continual improvement of electoral management bodies.
The next Nigerian presidential elections slated for the first quarter of 2015 will happen amidst a number of challenges facing the country, including violent attacks and insurgency. It is therefore crucial both for Nigeria and Africa that the upcoming multiparty elections occur peacefully with an outcome agreeable to all contestants. This will require, inter alia, an atmosphere of freedom of expression unimpeded by attacks against journalists.
For this reason, UNESCO, in partnership with national stakeholders, is implementing a series of initiatives aimed to empower journalists to protect their safety; alert other stakeholders on the necessity of allowing journalists to do their work unimpeded; and remind journalists on the importance of ethical conduct during the electoral period to reduce the attacks on journalists and media houses.
This projects falls within UNESCO’s actions as part of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
Overview of Activities
- Working with the zonal and state committees of the Nigerian Union of Journalists to establish safety of journalists committees. These committees with comprise security agencies, representatives of political parties and journalists, and will assess the threat levels journalists may be facing in the various states during the electoral period. The assessments will be undertaken according to UNESCO’s Journalists’ Safety Indicators;
- Organizing six workshops at zonal levels to train journalists on safety and principles for elections reporting;
- Developing a journalist’s safety code to provide guidelines to journalists;
- Regularly monitoring issues of safety of journalists at state levels and communicating to zonal and national levels, in coordination with the Nigerian Union of Journalists;
- Raising awareness on journalists’ safety, including through events, workshops, and engagement with media.
|August 2014||April 2015|