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 Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes 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.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More