…. Warns Against Muzzling of the Press in Osun
The Osun Online Media Practitioners Association(OOMPA) has condemned in its entirety the arrest of Mr. Fatai Akanji, an Online Publisher, and the shooting of the Nation’s Newspaper Correspondent, Toba Adedeji.
Fatai, the Publisher of Adulawo News, was arrested after the shooting of the journalist by the Operatives of the Nigeria Police in Osogbo.
The arrest of the Publisher on a story and picture of an attack on a fellow journalist by the News Medium was tantamount to muzzling the Press by the security Operatives on the freedom of the Press.
The Police invaded the NUJ Correspondent‘s Chapel premises in Osogbo in the early hours of Tuesday.
The action of the Police was barbaric to have arrested and taken Fatai to their custody for more than 45 minutes at the Dugbe police station, Osogbo.
We learned that the policemen acted on the directives of other security colleagues who had threatened to deal with the leadership of a media outfit for publishing news titled,’’ Osun Police Shoot Journalist, one other in Osogbo’’.
It was witnessed that the Publisher, Fatai, has been released after the due intervention of the Online Media Practitioners and Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council.
The dastardly action of the police is another threat to the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press as the fourth estate of the realm.
The Police are learned enough to know that in such instances, there is room for maintaining order in a social gathering instead of flouting the law by dehumanizing and shooting an innocent journalist.
The freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1979 Constitution,(as amended)guarantees the right to express views on issues through any medium of choice.
Press freedom is also concomitant to the right to express views.
The Police should know that free expression is the bedrock of democracy and a necessary ingredient for an enabling free civil society.
The security Operatives are, therefore, duty-bound to join in promoting press freedom as enshrined in Section 39(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
All overzealous activities of security Operatives against the press must stop for democracy to survive and thrive..
We advise that the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Usman Alkali Baba as a matter of urgency should resort to appropriate alternative measures to save the State from further unrest and crises rather than allowing bad elements in the Osun force to adopt an undemocratic move in gagging the press and citizens with ‘’guns’’.
Journalists as professionals have the responsibility to monitor and cover protests and report to the public.
It should be a symbiotic relationship between the press and the security Operatives, rather than bullying and intimidating the press..