As journalists all over the World observe World Press Freedom Day, Saturday, May 03, 2014, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Rivers State Chapter, calls on officials of the State government to show restraint in abusing the rights of Journalists practicing in the State.
In a press statement signed and made available to newshounds by Jerry Needam, Special Adviser, on Media to State PDP Chairman, Bro. Felix Obuah Friday, May 2, 2014 said the PDP “heartily joins members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm in marking this all important Day and also sympathies with them on the several ill-treatments and assaults, meted on them by some undemocratic, irresponsible and dictatorial regimes and officials of Rivers State government and its agencies.
According to the PDP, as a Party that provides equal opportunity for every Nigerian and also has shown utmost transparency as well as guarantees access to information, not only to members of the pen fraternity, but to every concerned citizens, ‘World Press Freedom Day’ takes a critical and important space in our schedule and calendar, and will always remain so until the struggle for total Press freedom is achieved.
The rest of the press statement read:
“The pains of our great Party (PDP) in the State have always been that the Amaechi led government has over the years paid deaf ears to the concerns and welfare of journalists serving in the State, as well as utterly neglected the Media establishments in the State thereby increasing the plights, woes and anguish of Media workers in those establishments.
“The Party therefore uses this opportunity to urge Governor Amaechi to urgently inject enough funds for the revamping of the State owned Media organizations in the State, which include, the Tide Newspaper, Rivers State Television Authority, State Printing Press, Rivers State Broadcasting corporation and the State Council for Arts and Culture.
“The PDP also recalled that during the period under Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the rate of intimidation and harassment of journalists have been on the increase, regretting that such development does not conform to the tenets of democracy, as well as fundamental principles which include the Freedom of Information and Expression.
“It is absolutely unfortunate that a government that ought to respect and protect the rights of its citizens finds comfort in abusing them. Amongst several cases, we recall the attack of an Editor with the National Network Newspaper who was assaulted by an agent of government at the Rivers State Government House, Port Harcourt, under the watch of Mr. Tony Okocha, Amaechi’s Chief of Staff, while covering state event. The party, in solidarity with the journalists, also recalls other cases of smashing of operational cameras of Television stations and other gadgets belonging to correspondents on official assignments in the State.
“It is in the light of this that the Party reiterates its call on the Governor of the State to respect the Fundamental Human Rights of journalists and other citizens of the State, and to take the welfare of journalists in the State seriously.
“The PDP also calls on the Rivers State government to comply with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Law and provides answers to questions bordering on the State’s financial position and management”.