Amnesty decries 'climate of fear' for Nigeria journalists

accreditation
Nigerian Flag. (iStock)
Nigerian Flag. (iStock)

Amnesty International on Monday said journalists in Nigeria are operating under a "climate of fear", after 19 reporters were detained by security forces this year.

The rights group said there has been a disturbing rise in threats and attacks on journalists for expressing critical views of the authorities on both conventional and social media in the country.

"Increasingly, the human rights cost of receiving and sharing information for journalists, bloggers and activists comes with dangerous consequences, forcing journalists, bloggers and activists to operate in a climate of fear," Amnesty's Nigeria director Osai Ojigho said in a statement.

"Journalists, bloggers and activists are facing increased risks simply for publishing articles and demanding accountability from the authorities. This is totally unacceptable. The authorities must immediately put an end to this hostility towards human rights."

Amnesty accused the police, military and the Department of State Services (DSS) secret police of being responsible for the clampdown on press freedom in Nigeria.

It cited the case of Abiri Jones, the publisher of Weekly Source who was arrested in 2016 and detained without access to family or lawyers for two years by the DSS.

"He was released on 15 August 2018 and rearrested on 20 May 2019 before being put on trial for terrorism and cybercrimes charges," it added.

Some of the other journalists mentioned in the report said that they had been beaten and "tortured" during interrogations.

In January the Nigerian security forces raided the offices of prominent newspaper Daily Trust over its coverage of the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country.

Local and international rights bodies have frequently accused Nigeria's security forces of abuses, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions.

The authorities have consistently denied the allegations.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
71% - 10848 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
29% - 4408 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.90
+1.1%
Rand - Pound
21.08
+0.8%
Rand - Euro
17.94
+1.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.20
+0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+1.6%
Gold
1,781.77
-0.2%
Silver
22.31
-1.0%
Palladium
1,827.20
+0.6%
Platinum
942.01
+0.6%
Brent Crude
69.88
+0.3%
Top 40
64,599
+0.5%
All Share
71,017
+0.3%
Resource 10
67,425
+1.4%
Industrial 25
93,388
-0.4%
Financial 15
14,090
+0.8%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE