Buhari’s govt supports free speech – Malami assures journalists

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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) says the Federal Government remains committed to ending impunity and crimes against journalists in the country.

Malami said this on Tuesday, in Abuja at a policy dialogue on protection of journalists to mark the 2021 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

The event was organised by the Ministry of Justice and Managing Conflict in Nigeria Programme in collaboration with the European Union.

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The minister, in a keynote address, maintained that Nigeria operated a constitutional democracy that guaranteed freedom of expression.

According to him, this is a conducive atmosphere that enables Nigerians to express their inalienable fundamental rights to unhindered ventilation of opinions.

“I am convinced that journalism is not a crime, rather, there are apparent crimes committed by some people that claim to practice journalism.

“Journalists are not in any way targeted for witch-hunting,” he said.

The attorney-general, however, implored journalists to desist from sensational reports that could threaten public peace.

“I call on journalists to refrain from fake news, defamation, sedition, hate speech, blasphemy, incitement or inflammatory statements in their reportage that could jeopardize our cooperate existence as a nation and hamper the peace we have been enjoying.

“National interest built on corporate existence needs to bind our patriotic engagement in advancing the interest of the nation,” he said.

On his part, the Acting Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mr Mohammed Umar, condemned all forms of crimes against journalists in view of the part journalists play in the development of democracy.

“Journalists help in moulding opinion, they can effectively engage government in providing purposeful leadership, and that is why the Federal Government is committed to ensuring the safety of journalists.”

In a presentation titled: “Ending Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in Nigeria”, Prof. Umaru Pate, Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Gombe underscored the need for perpetrators of crimes against journalists to be brought to justice.

The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that the UN declared Nov. 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on Nov. 2013

The 2021 celebration highlights the instrumental role of prosecutorial services, in investigating and prosecuting not only killings but also threats of violence against journalists.(NAN)

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