The Institute for Media and Society, a Nigerian based Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Index Censorship Freedom of Expression Award.
Organizer of the award, Index on Censorship is a UK-based non-profit organisation that publishes work by censored writers and artists and campaigns against censorship worldwide.
The nomination process commenced with 400 nominations including artists, writers, journalists and campaigners fighting for freedom of expression against immense obstacles while 15 organisations and individuals from all over the world made the final cut.
CEO of Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg said, “Free speech is the cornerstone of a free society – and it’s under increasing threat worldwide. That’s why it’s more important than ever to recognise the groups and individuals willing to stand up for it.”
The awards are in four categories, namely: arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism.
The Institute for Media and Society, IMS, has been in the forefront for the struggle to liberalise the broadcast media in Nigeria and also allow broad participation of the citizenry in the broadcast industry, especially for the establishment of community radio stations across the country. The struggle has however yielded positive results with the granting of licenses to several privately owned commercial broadcast stations and many community radio stations in Nigeria.
The organizer in a statement released on Tuesday nominated IMS under Campaigning category and stated as follows:
The Institute for Media and Society (IMS) is a Nigerian NGO that aims to improve the country’s media landscape by challenging government regulation and fostering the creation of community radio stations in rural areas at a time when local journalism globally is under threat. Three-quarters of television and radio stations in Nigeria are owned by politicians, and as a result they are divided along political lines, while rural communities are increasingly marginalised. IMS’s approach combines research and advocacy to challenge legal restrictions on the media as well as practical action to encourage Nigerians to use their voices, particularly via local radio. IMS also tracks violations of the rights of journalists in Nigeria.
Also nominated under this category is the Media Rights Agenda, another Nigerian based media NGO.
Judges for this year’s awards, which is in its 19th year, are award-winning investigative journalist and Rappler.com Editor-in-Chief Maria Ressa, actor and filmmaker Khalid Abdalla, computer scientist and author Dr. Kate Devlin, and writer and social activist Nimco Ali.
Winners, who will be announced at a gala ceremony in London on 4 April, become Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellows and are given year-long support for their work, including training in areas such as advocacy and communications.