The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) condemns the fatal attack on ChannelsTV reporter, Precious Owolabi, an attack that has resulted in his death. The group demands for immediate action to be taken to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous act.
Mr Owolabi, an corps member serving with Channels Television, was hit by a stray bullet while covering the protest by members of the Shiite Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) on Monday, in Abuja.
“This protest turned violent as officers of the Nigerian Police force attempted to disrupt the protest by members of the IMN” the coalition said in a press statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, on Tuesday.
“The death of the 23 year old Mr Owolabi in the line of duty and the over 300 recorded cases of attacks on the press as reported by the Press Attack Tracker underscores the several demands that the coalition has made for better protection of journalists while performing their constitutionally guaranteed functions.
“The increasing attacks on journalists encroach on the freedom of the press and it behooves the government and other stakeholders to conscientiously work towards laws and provisions that will guarantee the safety and security of journalists in the line of duty.
“Failure to do this is a slight on any democratic society and a disservice to journalism, a profession that is fundamental to sustaining democracy.”
The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom called on all relevant authorities to ensure justice is served in the case of the wrongful death of Mr Owolabi and anyone or group of persons found complicit be tried to the full extent of the law and brought to book.
“The coalition also demands that journalists in the line of duty especially covering conflict and humanitarian issues should be provided with security kits, journalists deserve to be protected.
“The coalition sympathises with the family of this fallen hero and demands justice.”
The statement was signed by the Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom, made up of the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Civic Media Lab, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), OrderPaper, Paradigm Initiative, Premium Times and Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ).
Others are Sahara Reporters, Daily Trust Newspaper, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), International Press Centre (IPC), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), TheCable and Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).