Tobore Ovuorie: 'We must refuse to conform to dictatorship' | DW's press releases | DW | 14.06.2021
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Tobore Ovuorie: 'We must refuse to conform to dictatorship'

Nigerian journalist Tobore Ovuorie was awarded the 2021 DW Freedom of Speech Award at the Global Media Forum in Bonn. In her acceptance speech, she urged governments to take action against Nigeria's Twitter ban.

Tobore Ovuorie is an investigative journalist from Nigeria. Her life-threatening research on the human trafficking mafia in Nigeria, an international billion-dollar business, shed light on criminal syndicates involved in prostitution, human traffickers and organ trading. For her continuing work as an investigative journalist, DW has awarded Ovuorie the DW Freedom of Speech Award 2021.

This is her acceptance speech:

Thanks so much Deutsche Welle for the Freedom of Speech Award. I feel so honored.

I dedicate this award to God almighty; to my late father Jack Mit Ovuorie who inspired me to travel this path and to fellow journalists in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

Being a journalist in Nigeria is difficult. We struggle for an economic basis for our work and fight for access to information. We have doors slammed in our faces when we ask questions and are bullied, intimidated, arrested and imprisoned. I can confidently say that the free press in my country and surrounding African countries like Cameroon is in terrible shape.

Unfortunately, the 2021 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders indicates Nigeria ranks 120 out of 180 countries. This leaves us journalists in very untidy situations.

Our work as journalists and media workers has become more difficult with the Twitter Ban in Nigeria.

Now, I have to climb the fence and get into my apartment - Twitter - through the back door and windows like a thief even when the keys to my apartment are with me. This is how my colleagues have been operating as well in Nigeria since the Twitter Ban was slammed by the Nigerian government on the country with no fewer than 200 million persons. In a democracy, this should not be.

I am using this opportunity to call on the various governments of the world to prevail on the Nigerian government to end the Twitter ban. Democracy should be of the people and for the people. Nothing less.

Critical and sophisticated journalism in Nigeria is shrinking and democracy is being weakened due to freedom of speech being limited.

The Internet is a great tool for journalism and democracy, while the Twitter ban is a huge threat to freedom of expression and will cause more harm to Nigerians.

I am reminding my colleagues in Nigeria and all over the world that it is our duty to defend democracy. We must keep forging on to kick against injustice, stand up for the voiceless with the power of written and spoken words. On no account should we let our voice be silenced. We must refuse to conform to dictatorship. That way, we will bring light into darkness and our various societies, communities and countries will become saner, safer and better spaces for us all and generations to come.

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EINSCHRÄNKUNG DW Personenfoto | Corporate Communications | Carla Hagemann

Carla Hagemann

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