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SERAP Partners OMPAN, Sets Up Fund to Fight Media Harassment

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A Non – Governmental Organization under the aegis of Socio – Economic Rights and Accountability Projects (SERAP) has pledged its unflinching support and partnership with the Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (OMPAN).

The Deputy Director of the Organization, Mr. Timothy Adewale, made the pledge yesterday when the executive members of the Lagos Chapter of OMPAN paid him a courtesy visit in his office, Ikeja Lagos.

While commending the online media practitioners for their supports to the course of the organization towards ensuring that their activities as well as achievements are projected to the public, Adewale noted that SERAP, as an organization has a long list of projects for journalists which include capacity building, free legal service, human rights support to journalists, fight against the press council bill, which he said, is aimed at closing information space, amongst others.

According to him, in oder to protect the media against job hazards and allow them to carry out their job , SERAP has set up special fund specially meant to fight against police harrasment.

Speaking against the Press Council Bil passed recently by the National Assembly, Adewale disclosed that while section 13 of the Nigerian Constitution entails human rights protection, the section, which guarantees the freedom of the press must never be hindered by the government.

While calling on investigative journalists to continue carrying out their investigative report effectively for the betterment of the society, he appealed to them to always see their work as service to humanity.

“In order to feel fulfilled in carrying out their jobs, it is important for journalists to always see their jobs as form of rendering services to the society. That’s why you will have the urge to always fight against corrupt practices in the country. He noted.

Speaking further, Adewale noted, “SERAP has been recognized as the best Human Rights Organization all over the world due to our commitment, transparency and Humanitarian services. “We are not working for our interest but for the interest of Nigerians. Our core mandate is to ensure that the government delivers on dividends of democracy effectively by fighting against corruption, so as to make the world a better place. We have achieved alot since the establishment of this organization, and we are still looking forward to move to a greater height.”

Also speaking during the visit, the Admin /Account Officer , Mr. Sunday Olowoyo said that their plan towards journalists is to train them on the use of Freedom of Information (FOI) to hold government accountable for their rights. He urged journalists to work hand in hand with SERAP to reposition the country in her normal position. He also reassured that the organization is at the forefront to slay the recent media bill which is geared towards destroying the flow of information, saying that ‘ As election is fast approaching, government are afraid of the media as their plans are to rig election.”

The Chairman of OMPAN, Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Francis IwuChukwu, earlier in his speech, said the visit to SERAP was to come together to form a comprehensive alliance with the organization, which he said, has been at the forefront in fighting against corruption in the country .

While appreciating the organization for their warm reception, he however sought for support and partnership with the organization, as he seized the opportunity to appeal to the organization to look into the recent Media bill which he described it as anti – people, unfriendly to the masses and a path to fight against the flow of information.

Iwuchukwu stressed, “If this kind of Bill is not tackled, it will deprive Nigerians the opportunity of getting access to information.

On his part, OMPAN Secretary General, Lagos State Chapter, Comrade Adejuwon Osunnuyi commended SERAP for coming to the rescue of journalists especially online media practitioners who have become endangered species in the course of carrying out their job.

Osunnuyi noted that while SERAP has pledged its support for the media, OMPAN, as a body would not relent in ensuring that online media practitioners carry out their duties professionally.

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