The Association of Cross River Online Journalists (ACROJ) has called on governments at all levels and stakeholders to unite to put an end to the continuous harassment, intimidation and attempts to instill fear in the minds of journalists who strive to perform their roles as entities in the fourth estate of the realm.
This was contained in a statement signed by the acting chairman of the association, Mr. Hope Obeten issued Thursday in Calabar, the Cross River capital to commemorate the 2018 edition of the World Press Freedom Day.
The World Press Freedom day is celebrated annually on May 3rd. and, this year’s theme is: “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law.”
And, ACROJ said that: “The trend in Cross River State which has seen two online journalists; Mr. Peter Inyali and Mr. Jonathan Ugbal harassed by those in government in recent times is despicable and is not welcomed in the 21st century.
“We are calling for the full implementation of the Windhoek declaration number 8 which seeks to criminalize censorship as it is a grave violation of human rights.
“This year’s theme is apt and we in the Association of Cross River Online Journalists will continue in our quest to keep power in check while sticking to the editorial principles of truth, accuracy, objectivity, balance and fairness in the discharge of our duties.
“We will continue seeking ways that will aid the fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press devoid of sensationalism.
“There is indeed hope as laws such as the Freedom of Information Act are being implemented, albeit slowly in our ailing democratic system; but, we must not lose sight of the fact that a truly free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy anywhere and for economic development.
“We hereby call on all stakeholders to unite and fight for a truly free, pluralistic and independent fourth estate of the realm for the benefit of all creation.”