Every society needs brave, hard-working journalists to hold our governments accountable—and, just as importantly, every journalist needs a committed, aware society to protect their work. Only when citizens themselves are invested in freedom of the press can independent media fulfill its watchdog role.
That’s the motivation behind the “I Support Free Press Campaign,” a movement of media and civil society organizations, rallying online and in-person, to spark mainstream conversations about journalist harassment. During the first week of the campaign, the #ISupportFreePress hashtag reached more than 300,000 people, as journalists and supporters tweeted their personal experiences and values:
You should lend your voice too pic.twitter.com/uSbWP9vG3f
— Adeyanju Deji 🇳🇬 (@adeyanjudeji) October 29, 2018
It's still the day set aside to demand an end to impunity against journalists. We're not perfect and could be better at our jobs, but we are an important part of any democracy. Citizens must demand freedom of the press because otherwise we all lose #ISupportFreePress #EndImpunity pic.twitter.com/TgTmj0KTNF
— Tolulope Adeleru-Balogun (@tolulopeab) November 2, 2018
— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) October 30, 2018
We’re excited to extend the conversation all across Nigeria. And we want you to help!
Tomorrow, we’re co-organizing a town hall meeting in Abuja. Join us!
Journalism Town Hall
Tuesday, December 4, at 10am
29 Mambilla Street Off Aso Drive
The town hall will bring together media union representatives and journalists for a panel discussion about the work these unions are doing, and their plans for improving journalist welfare. We’ll be joined by the presidents of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, the National Association of Women Journalists, and the National Press Council. Our collective hope is that this town hall will lead to lasting commitments to protect journalists and encourage more investigative reporting in the public interest.
You can still get involved by tweeting as part of the #ISupportFreePress campaign! The campaign is a collaboration between the Reboot Media program and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, with support from the MacArthur Foundation. Our goal is to build awareness across Nigeria about attacks on journalists and, more broadly, the importance of the free press and its effect on a democratic government. It’s part of a wider effort to build momentum ahead of the upcoming February 2019 national elections.
In addition to building citizen awareness, the campaign also brings journalists together to create best practices for fighting press suppression. That’s why we’ve been working offline with journalists for discussions, including at events last month in Lagos and Abuja, where more than 30 journalists gathered to share personal stories of harassment, and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism premiered a short video documentary about press freedom:
If you’re working in Nigeria—whether as a journalist, a member of a media organization or CSO, or a citizen concerned about corruption—we invite you to host a meeting in your community to help bring the serious issue of journalist harassment into the limelight. We have a toolkit of conversation starters, meeting tools, and even free t-shirts.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you resources to increase the impact of your event. Because freedom of the press is a cornerstone for ensuring accountability for all.
— Chxta (@Chxta) November 2, 2018