Saturday, June 7, 2014 7:26 am
The New York based Committee for the Protection of Journalists, CPJ has criticised Nigeria’s military authorities over the seizure of newspaper copies across the country on Friday.
The military reportedly confiscated or destroyed copies of at least four leading newspapers, Punch, Leadership, Vanguard, and TheNation, around the country. A defense official claimed that authorities were looking for “materials with grave security implications,”.
But CPJ’s Africa Programme coordinator, Sue Valentine slammed the action.
“Denying Nigerians access to news and information sows the seeds of rumours and distrust,” said Valentine.
“While we recognize that Nigeria faces security threats, these can never effectively be addressed by media blackouts or persecution of journalists. We call on authorities to respect the vital role that media play in circulating information and holding government to account.”
Journalists and news outlets have been targeted by both sides in Nigeria’s protracted waragainst extremist sect Boko Haram, which seeks to establish Islamic rule in northern Nigeria.
Security agents have used the pretext of the insurgency to threaten, harass, detain, and seize the equipment of journalists. Boko Haram has also threatened and carried out attacks on journalists and media outlets over reporting deemed unfavorable to their cause.
Some journalists have relocated from Boko Haram strongholds in Nigeria’s northern regions.