The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has condemned the intimidation and harassment of the Daily Trust journalist Eyo Charles, by the former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
In a viral video, the former minister for aviation was captured verbally assaulting the Daily Trust reporter on August 20, during a press conference in Calabar, Cross River.
The verbal assault was as a result of a question Mr Charles asked regarding Mr Femi Fani-Kayode’s travels to inspect projects across states and who was funding the work.
To which he responded, not with a response to the question but with vitriolic insults, demanding to know what right the journalist had to ask this question considering his status and threatening Mr Eyo with some kind of backlash.
The coalition called Mr Fani-Kayode’s outburst a violation of the journalist’s rights, pointing out that verbal assaults and threats such as the ones he made constituted an attack on the journalist, who was simply performing his civic and constitutional duty.
According to the CWPPF, this harassment by a former minister is an indication of an insidious lack of regard for the media and its work in investigating and reporting on issues.
“Journalism is the bedrock of democracy; therefore, media practitioners must never be intimidated or threatened as they carry out their civic duty,”
“No one should ever call any journalist ‘stupid’ for doing their job. The media has a very vital role to play as a public watchdog in a democratic society and should not be cowed or harassed into silence,” the coalition said.