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ANALYSIS OF CHALLENGES FACING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION IN NIGERIA
1.1. BACKGROUND TOTHE PROBLEM
Nigeria is becoming an increasingly dangerous place for journalists to do their jobs. Journalists in Nigeria face major risks as a result of their work, threats, surveillance, attacks, and even forced disappearance, arrest are too often the cost of reporting the truth.
According to Ben Arogundade (2012), opines that government attempt not only to control but to subjugate the press through obnoxious laws had been an enduring problem of Nigeria press. The press has been striving to wriggle itself out of these unfavourable laws, but the government believes that giving the press the freedom to operate as an independent entity may be suicidal.
Usually, government feels that it is logical to restrain the power of the press and if possible have a total control of the press. To government, the press is an instrument of people in power and should yield itself to their dictates. But the press fights fiercely to resist this obsequious stance, government wants to subject it to because the press belief that they are to serve as watchdog on government and not to be used as government extension of ministry of information or for propaganda tool. This gives rise to clashes between the press and the government. While government uses its authority to subjugate the press, the press resists by remaining ten anxious in its fights for freedom.
Government’struculent reaction to the freedom of the press report the affairs of government to the public shows that the government always has skeletons in its cupboard and therefore, would never entertain the prolonged glimpse of the press. The aim of the government to lord over the press is not peculiar to Nigeria alone, not to the third world countries but to the entire world except the USA that said it clear in its contribution that “congress shall make no law that will abridge the freedom of press and expression” (Marzolf, 2010).
Similarly, Young Ekuico (2011), “added throughout the centuries, and in every country, the media have been subjected to both harassment and manipulation”.
From the colonial era to Nigeria’s independence and to military and civilian regimes, the press has struggled to exist amidst diverse suppressivelaws, ordinances, acts and decrees enacted and promulgated at one time or another by different governments. Today, the Nigerian press exists in a very tenuous position. In thewords of Enonche (2012,) “the myriad of complaints by the press have taken on deaf ears of government whose alert and watchful eyes are permanently directed on what the press published with eager hands to censor and equal hostility to attack and arrest the reporters”. The present democratic environment has not fully guaranteed a conducive operational atmosphere for journalists in the country. Even the democratic government of Olusegun Obasanjo since inception has, indeed been characterized by pockets of attach on the press similar to what was obtainable during the military era.
However, since the time of colonial masters, journalists and freedom fighters have been clamoring for press freedom which were freedom which were not full given like they are enjoying in united states of American. In fact the nation’s 1999 constitution that was expected to provide this freedom was just the replica of the 1979 constitution where the freedom was just give and take going by the section 22 of chapter 2 of the 1999 constitution states that “mass media shall at all time be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contain in this chapter and uphold the responsibility andaccountability ofthe government to the public’