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Atiku raises concerns over growing media clampdown, intimidation since 2015

By Idowu Abdullahi

Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has decried what he described as growing media clampdown and intimidation of media professionals since 2015, saying journalists and media houses have been operating in a repressive atmosphere during the said period.

He added that it was saddening that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration since assumption of office has been wielding the big stick against the media, an action he argued, had put the professionals under serious threats which had been impeding their professionalism in their line of duties.

Atiku, who was Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate during 2019 general elections, noted that it was rather surprising that an administration that rode on media power to clinch the presidency had risen against free speech and freedom of information across the country.

Through a series of tweets on Monday to commemorate the 2021 World Press Freedom Day, observed globally every May 3, the former Vice President stated that it was important the Nigerian media are allowed to perform their duties without constant fear of harassment from those in power.

According to him, A democracy without press freedom is like having fanciful machinery without an energy source to power it.

“The celebration of World Press Freedom Day suggests a twin notion of an independent media and freedom of expression, which is enshrined as a fundamental human right. These two notions have been acknowledged to be indispensable in the working of democracy. #PressFreedom

“A democracy without press freedom is like having fanciful machinery without an energy source to power it. And just as our experience in Nigeria, especially in the past few years has shown, democracy becomes an immobile concept when press freedom and freedom of expression are trampled upon.

“The ability of the media to report stories without fears of clampdown and intimidation and the ability of the people to freely express their thoughts responsibly has come under persistent hemorrhage by the current administration in Nigeria.

“When the voice of the people is repressed in a democracy, the natural tendency is a disconnect between the people and government. In such a situation, good governance is compromised, and the effects of bad governance begin to assume more significant manifestations.

“While I congratulate the Nigerian Press on the milestone it has attained through the years, more so in the enthronement of democracy in the country, I wish to urge the media to continue to be the pathfinder in our unrelenting quest for a more prosperous and progressive nation,” the statement said.

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