Saraki, Dogara, Falana, others to discuss press freedom in Nigeria

FILE: PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES SARAKI AND DOGARA 4. The President of the Senate, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki and The Speaker of the Federal House Representatives Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara press the State House Press after meeting with President Buhari in a close door at the State house in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. MAY 7 2018

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara are among the speakers that will discuss press freedom in Nigeria in the next two days.

The event is organised by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) and holds in Abuja.

“The event is to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May, and help explore workable solutions to problems plaguing the Nigerian media space…” the organisers said.

Others expected at the event include senior lawyer, Femi Falana, and journalism professor, Lai Oso.

Read the details of the event as provided by the organisers below.

Senator Bukola Saraki, President of the Nigerian Senate, and the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, are billed to speak at a two-day conference on Press Freedom in Nigeria hosted by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism [PTCIJ] on the 3rd and 4th of May 2019 in Abuja.

The event is to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May, and help explore workable solutions to problems plaguing the Nigerian media space with regards to constraining laws and policies. Honourable Justice Dupe Atoki, Justice of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice will deliver the keynote address.

PTCIJ’s Deputy Programmes Manager, Oluwatosin Alagbe, said Friday in a release in Abuja that the centre is organising the events in partnership with the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) Programme of the British Council, and will bring key stakeholders together to analyse existing laws that hold the media back from holding government accountable.

Ms Alagbe said key stakeholders in government, security agencies and the media have already arrived Abuja for the events. They are Femi Falana (SAN); Prof Lai Oso (LASU); Abdulmumuni Tokunbo (SERAP); Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) Representative; Secretary, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr Tayo Popoola, Mr Adegoke Adeboye (Paradigm Initiative) and Jiti Ogunye, legal adviser to Premium Times, among other distinguished Nigerians.

There will be four panel discussions on The Nigerian Media, Constraining Laws, and Justiciability of Statute, Media Practice and the Shrinking Space of Journalistic Freedom, Conflict and the Press: Challenges and Limits in Coverage Pattern, National Security, The Press and Treaty Obligation and a workshop on Formulating a Legislative Agenda for the 9th Assembly to enhance protection of Press Freedom.

Historically, the Nigerian press is famed for being one of the key drivers in ensuring Nigeria’s independence from colonialism, especially when the Lagos Press helped articulate the case for Nigeria’s independence. In the Second Republic, the Nigerian media became the vehicle for pushing and defending democratic norms. Unfortunately, the darker years of military rule in the country eroded the media and encouraged attacks against journalists and other members of the press. These practices survived the end of military dictators and have passed into today’s democratic sphere.

Scholars of Nigeria’s pre-independence and post-independence period agree on the central role of our media as an accountability mechanism, and Ms Alagbe, in her statement, remarked that constant allusions to the role of the media as a pivotal institution in Nigeria’s democratisation “reminds us all how the future of democracy unquestionably rests on the promotion of the rule of law and accountability in the body polity of the nation” adding that the role of the press in the realisation of this important goal is front and centre and does not need any constraining laws or policies.”

The event is holding at the New Chelsea Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja, and begins at 9 a.m. daily.

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