…..the workshop is aimed at ensuring accountability for attacks on journalists and the media in Nigeria
By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
As part of efforts to curtail impunity in the series of attacks launched on journalists in NIgeria, the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) will host a two-day litigation workshop for lawyers on the safety of newshounds.
The workshop which will take place from April 14 to April 15, 2021 in Abuja, is designed to enhance the capacity of lawyers to handle cases relating to attacks on journalists.
A statement by the Head of MRA’s Legal Department, Ms Chioma Nwaodike, said participants expected at the workshop include seasoned lawyers from different parts of Nigeria who have volunteered to offer “pro bono” (free services) in defence of journalists and media organizations whose rights are threatened or infringed upon.
“The workshop is aimed at ensuring accountability for attacks on journalists and the media in Nigeria, thereby combating the culture of impunity for such attacks. We are bringing together lawyers from different parts of the country who have agreed to provide pro bono legal assistance and litigation support to journalists whose rights are threatened or violated, as part of an effort to provide a safe environment for media workers to effectively carry out their professional duties.
“A situation where journalists and other media workers are killed, brutalized, tortured or visited with other forms of violence, and the government takes no serious action to investigate such attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice is unacceptable. We are bringing together legal minds from across the country to discuss and agree on strategies for more aggressive intervention, using the legal system and the judicial process to ensure the safety of journalists and to protect their rights,” the statement made available to Persecondnews said.
Nwaodike further explained that the workshop would provide participating lawyers with the opportunity of identifying and familiarizing themselves with national, regional and international instruments and mechanisms that can be deployed to ensure the safety of journalists in Nigeria.
She said the workshop would also examine the most effective approaches in conducting strategic litigation to challenge laws as well as institutional and administrative practices that impede media freedom, contrary to the Constitution or regional and international instruments to which Nigeria is a party, while also leveraging the protections and remedies that they offer.
The workshop is supported by the Global Media Defence Fund (GMDF) through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and will bring together 30 participants from across Nigeria.