Falana: Journalists must be protected — press freedom drives societal development

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Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has called for the protection of journalists from government suppression because “press freedom is the freedom of the society”.

Falana spoke on Friday at the West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards (WAMECA) held in Ghana.

According to the human rights lawyer, society must protect journalists and aid the development of journalism “in the interest of the basic freedom of humans and democracy”.

His remarks come on the heels of the #EndSARSMemorial protest, held across Nigeria on Wednesday, during which some journalists were harassed by security agents.

Falana added that amid “digital development, change in technology and dwindling resources”, society must ensure that journalism remains on course to serve effectively as the watchdog.

“There’s a need for an education system that challenges the students to think so that conscious citizens, who can question what they read, can be produced,” he said.

“Press freedom is the freedom of the society. Press development is the development of the society. Therefore, the society must fight to protect press freedom, expand its boundaries, ensure the wellbeing of mass media and protect the journalists.

“In conclusion, as human beings, we owe it a duty not just to protect and defend journalists but to also ensure that the mass media will remain on course in the face of digital development, change in technology and dwindling resources.

“This is in the interest of the basic freedom of humans and democracy, and the development of humanity.”

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