The Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) has described the recent report of `Reporters Without Borders’ on Press Freedom in Nigeria for 2017 as incorrect and misleading.
In a statement signed by the BMSG Acting Chairman, Hon. Austin Braimoh, and its Secretary, Chief Cassidy Maduekwe, the group noted that the drop in Nigeria’s rating on the World Press Freedom Index was unfair based on the fact that the indices used by the Organisation were largely faulty.
The group also noted that the assertion that it had become “impossible to cover stories involving politics, terrorism or financial embezzlement” in Nigeria is blatantly false.
“There is no truth to this assertion. All over Nigeria, journalists are allowed unfettered coverage of government and political activities, except where those matters pertain to classified security issues.”
“The assertion that journalists are threatened and subjected to physical violence or denied access to information by government officials is inchoate of facts.
“There are very few records of journalists who have reported cases of threats, and where those cases where reported they have been dealt with appropriately,” the statement said.
The Group observed that very few investigative journalists are taking advantage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act that gives them wide access to government information.
“Media houses benefitting or using the FOI act in the course of performing their functions as watch dogs are few, the rest rely solely on official press releases and this approach or strategy leaves them with limited information,” the Group said.
The group further noted that while there were a few instances were journalist’s privileges were hampered due to the failure of the media practitioners to perform their duties responsibly, the occurrences were handled within the ambit of the law.
The group further noted that Nigeria’s democracy is getting better, and that under the Buhari administration there has been no instances where journalist, citizens, or media personnel were imprisoned or killed.