The executive director of the Centre for Constitutional Governance, CCG, Dr. Adewale Balogun has observed that that despite return of the country to democratic governance, the media faces various forms of restrictions thus inhibiting the discharge of their constitutional responsibility.
Balogun in his remark at a one day workshop, with the theme, “Enhancing Press Freedom In Nigeria” organized by the Centre in Lagos today, noted, “It is indeed thought provoking and interestingly challenging, especially in our contemporary, Nigeria which has embraced democracy and has been nurturing it for the past nineteen years after almost thirty years of military dictatorship to note that journalists are still restricted in the performance of their assignments.
The 2017 World Press Freedom index has placed Nigeria at 122out of 180 countries, which means Nigeria came down six places since last year when Nigeria was rated 166 out of the 180 countries that were rated. The World Press index is an annual report put together by a non-government organization, Reporters without Borders”.
According to Balogun, Although the Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on may 28 2011, government institutions and officials regularly deny journalists information, and in some cases threaten them for investigating issues that are in public interest. This is in addition to the lack of ethics and professionalism that has been evident in the practice of journalism in Nigeria in the recent times. Cognizance of the fact that no society can grow without an active Press to monitor and report IRS activities, CCG has embarked on a project to Enhance Journalism and Press Freedom in Nigeria with the main objectives of improving the environment for journalism to thrive in Nigeria.
He explained that the workshop is one of the activities within the project that aims at enhancing the capacity of media practitioners and civil society organizations on how to improve the quality of journalism and make the environment more conducive for its safe practice in Nigeria.
He therefore expressed the hope that the programme would improve the knowledge of media practitioners and civil society organizations in understanding and promotion of the principles of Press freedom in Nigeria and that the capability building exercise will generate notable outcomes that would be geared towards charting a new course for Journalism in Nigeria.