Despite subscribing to international laws on the protection of human rights, Nigeria still has poor record of human rights, with abuses and violations recorded almost daily. The Niger Delta region of the country is not spared, as, it has for some years been site for major confrontations between the people and the government, leading to the death of many, arbitrary detentions and restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The end to human rights abuses in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria appears not in sight. Not only is the ecosystem degraded and lives and livelihoods displaced, protests by the local people commonly meet repression. The inhabitants of the region who live in great poverty, while so much wealth is extracted from all around see it as injustice. The agitations for Resource Control and secession are clear manifestations of the feeling of mistreatment, frustration and injustice by people of the region. In addressing the issues of human rights violation, the mass media are not participatory. Gaps in capacity and roles are manifest. The failure of the mass media as a key player in the struggle for the defence of the fundamental rights of the people has in no small measure, led to the escalation of human rights abuse in the area. Relevant professional bodies have also not lived up to expectation. Human rights abuse shall be drastically reduced if the mass media live up to their responsibility, uphold the tenets and ethics of the profession, sustain reportage and get participatory. This article traces the background of cases of human rights violation in the region, their causes; highlighting the paths not yet taken and the responsibilities of the mass media.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN