Amnesty International claimed that at least 19 journalists have been attacked in Nigeria in 2019.
Saying at least 19 journalists have been attacked in 2019 is technically factual; as Press Attack Tracker- an advocacy tool- records at least 50 attacks in 2019. However, the gaping margin of at least 31 is undeniable.
Recently, Amnesty International stated that nineteen (19) journalists were attacked in Nigeria in 2019. Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization. It is a movement with the mission of preventing and stopping grave violations against human rights in general.
On April 2017, the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism launched a platform that serves as an advocacy tool for press freedom in Nigeria. This is premised upon its strategic vision of ensuring freedom of expression and its fight against press gagging.
The advocacy tool- Press Attack Tracker– tracks, monitors and reports attacks on the press in the Nigerian society. The attacks monitored cut across several categories, not limited to:
- unlawful arrest;
- cyber attack;
- phone bug surveillance;
- Harassment, etc.
Contrary to Amnesty International’s report, Press Attack Tracker (PAT) has recorded over 50 attacks on journalists in Nigeria, 2019.
These attacks ranged from assault, illegal arrest and threats to the life of journalists; perpetrated by security officials, governor aides, political thugs, etc. These attacks were collated from more than ten states of the Federation.
Currently, the total number of attacks on journalists in Nigeria (2019) as documented and reported by Press Attack Tracker is over 50. Hence, Amnesty International’s figure of “at least 19”, though technically factual, leaves a gaping margin.
This alludes to an all too familiar issue prevalent in the media with respect to Africa – especially Nigeria. The inadequacy of factual data sets and untimeliness of reports (with instances of incidents not even being reported) makes estimates like this, difficult to obtain. This is the same reason why till date, we do not have a verified population estimate. Or why, the health sector finds it difficult to collate data via surveys. This underlines the need for independent data collection initiatives in the country. Who better to tell our story than- us?
Press Attack Tracker as stated earlier is an initiative of PTCIJ. Regardless, the information available has been collated via transparent means and is 100% verifiable.