News / Africa

Journalists Face Difficulties in Nigeria

Journalists swarm Nigeria Labor Congress chief Abdulwahed Omar (C) on January 15, 2012 at the state house in Abuja, Nigeria.
Journalists swarm Nigeria Labor Congress chief Abdulwahed Omar (C) on January 15, 2012 at the state house in Abuja, Nigeria.
Jane Labous

Officials at Nigeria's main airport in Lagos have locked a group of foreign and national journalists out of the press center, confiscated their equipment and accused them of posing a national security risk.

Officials of the State Security Service and the protocol department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have threatened the journalists with arrest if they try to recover their cameras, voice recorders and other items.

The press center is provided for the use of journalists at the airport, and local journalists say they have used the facility for over 30 years without problems.

The lockout has now been going on for five days, with no real explanation as to the cause.

Journalists believe President Goodluck Jonathan was uncomfortable with reports about people's movements around the airport, including a picture of one traditional leader using a presidential jet.

Others say the dispute arose after officials tried unsuccessfully to suppress reports about a robbery at the airport Wednesday.

The minister of information, Labaran Maku, says that he is not commenting on this issue.  He was not any more forthcoming with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

NUJ president Mohammed Garba says that, whatever the reason for it, the action is unjustifiable.

"We have a social responsibility to the people of this country and we are backed by the constitution," said Garba.  "Therefore, we should not be regarded as a security threat."

Garba went on to express his concern that this is a harbinger of bad news for journalists in Nigeria.

"If there is not any serious reason or base for this action, we will consider it to be part of a deliberate plan by the government to clamp down on journalists," added Garba.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an American organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide, is calling on Nigerian authorities to explain the lockout - and to ensure that journalists are free to carry out their work.

"It is unclear as to why they are being locked out," said CPJ Africa Advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita.  "Our inquiries have been met with silence and authorities have refused to comment on the matter.  Local journalists believe it is in retaliation to coverage that the government is not pleased with, and the authorities have been quoted in news reports as saying that the journalists cause a national security threat."

Keita said the journalists should be given their equipment back.

"This is totally arbitrary and it is a challenge to the rule of law in Nigeria - at least the authorities should provide an explanation of why they have taken this action," Keita added.

Nigeria has a history of press censorship, despite an abundance of news organizations in the country, especially newspapers.

Political leaders are often suspicious of the press, and military regimes and civilian administrations have often violated constitutional rights to press freedom.  Reporters Without Borders, another media advocacy group, usually ranks Nigeria in the bottom fourth of all countries worldwide in its annual Press Freedom Index.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid