Nigeria

Media freedom under attack: raid of media outlet, several journalists arrested, four broadcasters fined

On 19th August 2022, over a dozen police officers arrested journalist Agba Jalingo at his residence in Ogudu, Lagos State, following a defamation and cyberattack complaint filed by Eizabeth Alami Frank Ayade, the sister-in-law of the Governor of Lagos State, Benedict Ayade. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), who reviewed the complaint, the accusations against Jalingo relate to an unspecified Facebook post by Jalingo and a report published by CrossRiverWatch alleging that Elizabeth Ayade had hired a lecturer to take her exam at the Nigerian Law School. The articles reportedly included Ayade’s denial of these allegations. Read more

Media freedom under attack: raid of media outlet, several journalists arrested, four broadcasters fined

ECOWAS Court of Justice orders Nigeria to amend the restrictive Cybercrime Act

On 25th March 2022, the Court of Justice of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a ruling ordering Nigeria to amend section 24 of its 2015 Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act to conform to international human rights treaties it has ratified, in particular the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Section 24 of the Act criminalises, among others, “offensive” messages or “with the purpose of causing annoyance” sent via computer systems. Human rights organisations, including Amnesty International, have documented the use of the Act, in particular section 24, to intimidate and prosecute journalists, bloggers and media activists since the Act’s enactment.

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ECOWAS Court of Justice orders Nigeria to amend the restrictive Cybercrime Act

Media protest controversial bills; five activists prosecuted for wearing #BuhariMustGo T-shirts

On 12th July 2021, several major newspapers, including Premium Times, Vanguard, the Guardian, The Punch, the Daily Sun, covered their front page with an image of a man with a sealed mouth, captioned "Information Blackout", as protest against attempts by the government to regulate social media and censor the media. Read more

Media protest controversial bills; five activists prosecuted for wearing #BuhariMustGo T-shirts

Twitter banned, proposed Press Council Act amendments further restrict freedom of expression

On 4th June 2021, Minister of Information and Culture in Nigeria, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced an indefinite suspension of all operations of social media platform Twitter in the country on grounds of the “persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”. The suspension followed the platform’s deletion of a tweet by - and a 12-hour suspension of the Twitter account of - Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari days earlier Read more

Twitter banned, proposed Press Council Act amendments further restrict freedom of expression

#EndSARS protests: several protesters killed, journalists assaulted

Since 8th October 2020, Nigerian youth have been protesting against police brutality across the country, in particular by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian police. The protests erupted after a video of SARS officers dragging people, and apparantly shooting one, went viral, and the protests, emboldened by the use of social media, came to embrace wider grievances of bad governance and a lack of accountability in the country. Read more

#EndSARS protests: several protesters killed, journalists assaulted

Journalists attacked while covering protests

On 1 October, Nigeria celebrated 60 years of independence. On the day of the country's anniversary, the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) organised protests across the country under the campaign #RevolutionNow. Demonstrators gathered to express discontent over issues of poor governance and increases in electricity and fuel prices. During the protests, police assaulted a photojournalist with Punch newspaper and arrested up to 60 demonstrators. Read more

Journalists attacked while covering protests

Attacks on journalists and freedom of expression persist, #SayNoToSocialMediaBill campaign

Civil society in Nigeria have been campaigning and mobilised against the adoption of the 2019 Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and other Related Offences Bill. and the Hate Speech Bill. The first Bill would make statements on social media which may ‘diminish public confidence’ in the government or 'likely to be prejudicial to national security' punishable by a fine and/or three year prison sentence. If passed, while allowing the authorities to order a shutdown of internet access and social media.

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Attacks on journalists and freedom of expression persist, #SayNoToSocialMediaBill campaign

Concerns about freedom of expression in Nigeria: journalists arrested, protests repressed

According to the Amnesty International report 'Endangered Voices. Attack on Freedom of Expression in Nigeria', at least 19 journalists, bloggers and media practitioners have been subject to attacks between January and September 2019. These range from physical attacks, verbal assaults, death threats, surveillance, indiscriminate detention to pressure to reveal sources, mostly perpetrated by Nigerian security forces. Read more

Concerns about freedom of expression in Nigeria:  journalists arrested, protests repressed

Journalist Jones Abiri finally released, media stakeholders reject Press Council Bill

On 15th August 2018, journalist Jones Abiri was released on bail after being detained for over two years, largely incommunicado, by the Department of State Security (DSS) without appearing in front of a court. Abiri, publisher and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Weekly Source, was arrested on 21st July 2016 by armed agents of the State Security Service at his office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, accusing Abiri of being the leader of separatist group Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force in a statement sent by the security service to Nigerian journalists in July 2016. Read more

Journalist Jones Abiri finally released, media stakeholders reject Press Council Bill