The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) is disappointed at the recent reckless and unguarded utterances including subsequent threat by the Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, against Daily Trust Newspaper’s reporter in Cross River state.
While we are not unaware of the Fani-Kayode’s regular antagonistic reaction and response to issues, we uphold our position that Press Freedom and journalism must be respected and protected at all levels.
We express total discomfort not only in thoughtless use of the word “stupid” but also reported threat and intimidation of the journalist during and after a press conference held in the state.
We also find the reaction of the Former Aviation Minister worrisome and tantamount to silencing the media freedom; as he is known to hitherto leverage the media in expressing personal view and opinion on issues without fear or intimidation.
Given this background, we without reservation condemn disrespect and intimidation of any journalist, while we reiterate that the fundamental principles of Press Freedom considers communication and expression through various media, including printed and electronic, a right to be exercised freely without fear or intimidation.
We acknowledge and commend the media role in influencing public opinion, shaping political agenda, providing a link between the government and the people, while acting as the government watchdog in advancing good governance.
We also recall the crucial importance of the media in the promotion of democracy and rule of law; just as media is indispensable for people to be informed and to effectively participate in a democracy.
CISLAC will not hesitate in sustaining constructive working relationships with other civil society groups in the promotion of Press Freedom at all levels.
We further encourage journalists at all levels to disregard any attempt to bully them to silence, as they exercise their Freedom in the promotion of good governance and democratic core values.
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani)
Executive Director, CISLAC