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Experts Brainstorm On Journalists’ Safety Thursday, As IPC Releases Attacks Report

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IPCA meeting of media experts and institutional stakeholders will take place in Abuja onThursday April 30, 2015 to deliberate on the safety of journalists and emerging issues in conflict in Nigeria.

The participants will include the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Radio and Television Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).

Also to attend are Editors and Reporters including those reporting in conflict prone areas, representatives of the Nigerian Press Council, spokespersons of the Police and Army, academic scholars and UNESCO officials.

The meeting is taking place as part of a project on Baseline Audit on State of Safety of Journalists supported by IPDC and the UNESCO Regional office in Nigeria.

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The objective is to conduct an assessment that provides baseline information on safety of journalists in Nigeria especially in the context of UNESCO’s Journalists’ Safety Indicator at the National Level so as to facilitate an intervention plan by UNESCO, its partners and other interested stakeholders.

Three front presentations will be made at the meeting including Media Handling of Gender Issues in Contemporary Nigerian Conflicts by Dr. Ifeoma Dunu, Department of Mass Communication, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Professionalism and ethics in reporting conflicts: perspectives on dealing with the new challenges by Dr Sola Ishola of the Department of Peace & Conflict Studies, University of Ibadan and Religious conflicts and media responsibility: the emergent challenge of Boko Haram by Dr Abubakar Mu’azu, Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri.

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The meeting will also deliberate on the desktop research on the frameworks on safety of journalists, the survey among journalists and editors on the safety of journalists in Nigeria as well as the outcome of the monitoring of attacks on journalists, which commenced in November, 2014.

In the latest report released by IPC, it was observed that incidents of attacks on journalists increased in March 2015 during which the presidential elections took place.

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The organization said policemen and soldiers were responsible for eight of the thirteen attacks, political thugs, four and hoodlums, one.

“The harassment of journalists in the course of their legitimate duties as evidenced by the outcome of monitoring clearly shows that press freedom remains under threat in the country despite the efforts that have been made to widen the scope of freedom of expression and uphold the right of the public to know the truth since the return of civil rule”, the report said

The report also expressed concern that the perpetrators of the attacks were never brought to justice.

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