Femi Falana, a senior lawyer from Nigeria (SAN), called for the protection of journalists from government crackdown because “freedom of the press is freedom of society”.
Falana spoke on Friday at the Media Excellence in West Africa (WAMECA) Conference and Awards held in Ghana.
According to the human rights lawyer, society must protect journalists and help the development of journalism “in the interest of fundamental human freedom and democracy”.
His remarks follow the #EndSARSMemorial protest, held across Nigeria on Wednesday, in which some journalists were harassed by security officers.
Falana added that amid “digital development, technological change and dwindling resources,” society needs to ensure that journalism stays on track to effectively serve as a watchdog.
“There is a need for an education system that inspires students to think so that conscious citizens, who can question what they read, can be produced,” he said.
“The freedom of the press is the freedom of society. The development of the press is the development of society. Therefore, society must strive to protect press freedom, expand its borders, ensure the well-being of the media and protect journalists.
“In conclusion, as human beings, we have a duty not only to protect and defend journalists, but also to ensure that the mass media stay the course in the face of digital development, of changing technologies. and dwindling resources.
“It is in the interest of fundamental human freedom and democracy, and the development of mankind.”