FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, February 1, 2023 REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
The European Union (EU) has reiterated its commitment to engaging the Nigerian government at all levels, the media, and civil society to promote press freedom in the country. This is contained in a statement signed by the EU Embassy in Abuja.
The mission also reiterated its commitment to promoting and strengthening press freedom around the world. It emphasised that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The embassy identified some of the rights as the freedom to hold opinions without interference and “to receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 75 years ago.” According to the european mission, the protection of freedom of expression remains a key priority for EU human rights action.
“This year we join UNESCO in emphasising that, today more than ever, freedom of expression is crucial for all other human rights and contributes decisively to ‘Shaping a Future of Rights.’ “While the preservation of free, independent, and pluralistic media is vital for resilient and healthy democracies, press freedom is at stake in most parts of the world today. “Journalists, media workers, and all those who bring independent quality information to the public as well as shed light on gross human rights violations and atrocities and hold those in power to account, increasingly face discrediting, threats, and attacks, including through disinformation. “Reporters in an attacked Ukraine, journalists in Belarus and Afghanistan, independent media in the Middle East and North Africa, local journalists in Central America, the Nobel Prize laureates in the Philippines and Russia, and many other media workers worldwide including in Europe, continue to pay a high price for exercising their profession,” it stated. The EU also observed that women journalists are particularly vulnerable to threats and increasing attacks, both offline and online.
The bloc further observed that women are exposed to stigmatisation, sexist hate speech, trolling, sexual and gender-based violence, and even murder. It added that 73 per cent of women journalists have experienced online threats, abuse, and harassment in the course of their work. “We have never seen as many women journalists in detention as today. “As a staunch defender of the right to freedom of expression, the EU condemns all forms of threats and violence against journalists and support media workers in danger through local missions and via dedicated programmes.
“Such as the Safe journalists platform in the Western Balkans, the Support to independent media and fundamental freedoms project in Cambodia, and the Media Resilience programme in Afghanistan.