Following an impassioned presentation at the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce, His Excellency Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu expressed concern over U.S. Consular General Jeffery Hawkins´ recent remarks on media freedoms in Nigeria.
While hosting a luncheon at the Frankfurt Hilton attended by international delegates on the role of social equality as a pillar of stability in Africa, Dr. Kalu offered words of insight as to the central role freedom of expression plays not simply in depolarizing media and fostering trust but as a tenet of true democracy and a hallmark of any nation´s trajectory.
“The fundamental freedom to voice one´s opinion without persecution or
consequence is not a luxury to be granted but a human right in any modern society. I urge President Jonathan to heed Consular General Hawkins´ concerns as Nigeria cannot afford to further stifle the open sharing of ideas and with it, its own political process”.
Such criticism from international bodies does not arrive unwarranted. Select state and nonstate actors in-country and in the Nigerian Diaspora have often aimed to suppress and distort political criticism for personal benefit.
Journalists have been targeted, arrested and disciplined for their investigations and insight, creating a climate of distrust and moreover, allowing for the prevalent spread of misinformation. Freedom House notably reported that more than 30 attacks on press liberty in the period leading up to the April 2011 presidential, legislative, and gubernatorial elections occurred, often leading to correspondents being detained without judicial or legal