• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Cybercrime act used to target journalists is archaic, media houses must challenge it – Gbenga Sesan

businessday-icon

Gbenga Sesan, the executive director of Paradigm Initiative (PIN), says the cybercrime act used by politicians and other powerful people to harass journalists is archaic and should be challenged by media organisations.

Sesan said this at the Policy Intervention Series convened by BusinessDay in Lagos on Thursday.

The event themed “Strategies for Safeguarding Press Freedom in an Increasingly Digital Age” explored the challenges and opportunities facing press freedom in today’s digital landscape.

Speaking at the panel discussion, Sesan said that the cybercrime act used to target media men was enacted in 2015 and that the law has been repealed.

He noted that a replacement of the act was enacted in 2024 without the section 24, which is being used by politicians to harass and intimidate journalists.

Citing the recent abduction of Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist working with Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Sesan said that the Nigerian Police Force still hold on to the 2015 cybercrime act despite being repealed by the new one.

“The cybercrime law that the police and powerful people are using to arrest journalists is archaic. That’s the old law of 2015. There’s a new law of 2024 signed by the president on February 27.

“Section 24 that is being used…section 24 on cyberstalking that the police used to arrest Daniel, for example, no longer exists in the form it used to exist. The vagueness of that section that they use to arrest journalists has disappeared,” he said.

The activist challenged the police to charge Daniel to the court, saying that the case will be immediately dismissed because the law has been amended.

He countered the statement made by the minister for information that no journalist has been arrested since President Bola Tinubu came into office, saying that 45 cases have been documented.

Sesan tasked media organisations on documentation in order to counter false narratives like the one made by the information minister on World Press Freedom Day.

The executive director of PIN urged journalists and media organisations to protect themselves, saying that the government will soon move from physical to digital attack.