The International Press Centre (IPC) through its Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ), has frowned at the attack on journalists covering the Kano State Governorship Election petition tribunal.
Two journalists, Salim Umar Ibrahim of Daily Trust and BBC Hausa Reporter, Zahraddeen Lawal, were harassed by the men of the Nigerian Police Force at the venue of the tribunal, destroying their work tools.
Press Freedom Officer at I-CSPJ, Melody Akinjiyan, in a statement on Wednesday, quoted the Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, as saying that the unwarranted attacks on journalists on legitimate duty is dangerous to the nation’s democracy and a major threat to press freedom.
IPC said that the report has it that the Police who were on duty asked the journalists to move 10 meters away from the Court premises and in the process, some of them pounced on them, alleging that they were taking pictures.
He said: “IPC’s Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ), is extremely dismayed by the reported police attack on some journalists who were in the court to cover the sitting of the Kano Governorship Election petition tribunal, today Wednesday, September 20, 2023.
“While some went after BBC reporter trying to seize his phone, others held Salim Ibrahim of Daily Trust and forcefully collected his phone, damaging the screen.
“The unwarranted attacks on journalists on legitimate duty is dangerous to our democracy and a major threat to press freedom. Such act violates the fundamental human rights of the journalists.
“We urge the men of the Nigerian Police Force to be mindful of actions they take against journalists and not continually create an environment where journalists would be afraid to work and discharge their duties effectively and efficiently.
“I-CSPJ therefore calls on the Kano State Commissioner of Police to take adequate and swift measures to bring to book those who assaulted the journalists while putting in place machinery to compensate the affected journalists for this inhumane treatment.
“We also call on the Nigeria Police Force to step up the training of its officers to be more respectful and courteous in relating with journalists and other media professionals. They should be reminded constantly that the primary responsibility of the Police is the protection of citizens including journalists,” he said.