Editing Office - Emeka Ike
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 8:58 am
A Human Rights activist, Mr Emmanuel Onwubiko, has urged the media to continue to promote national security through their reportage. Onwubiko, who is the National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja. “Bear in mind that we are all victims of state of insecurity.
So, do not aggravate it by your reportage,” he said. He recalled that HURIWA recently held an interactive session between the media and the military for responsible security reporting.
The human rights activist said the theme of the session was “Military-Media Relations for National Security”. Onwubiko advised the media to fact-check and balance stories as well as minimise sensational headlines and reports capable of compromising the military and national security. While noting that people had a right to know about government’s activities, he said their access to classified information was often impeded. According to him, such information was usually impeded by the usual reluctance of government agencies to give out information. He explained that the right to information is a component of the broader right to freedom of expression and of the press. This, he said, is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1984. Onwubiko further noted that Nigeria is among the few countries in Africa that have a constitutional provision guaranteeing access to information. “Section 34(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999, states that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference,” he said. This constitutional provision, he noted, goes with procedures and penalties for non-compliance in the freedom of Information Act (FoIA) which was passed in May, 2011. According to him, good democratic governance is strengthened by active participation of the citizens in decision making process. Onwubiko added that access to government information would enhance accountability and transparency in governance and further boost public confidence in government.