Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Not a good sign

You recognize, of course, the normative title here. But when the Nigerian government arrests journalists because of a story they published, it's not a sign of rule of law, press freedom, or liberal democracy. That's not good by my lights.

Stay tuned to see what comes of this.

This report comes from Leadership, the newspaper directly involved in the case.

Jonathan Orders Detention of Four Leadership Editors
The Goodluck Jonathan administration yesterday came down hard on the media: it arrested and detained some senior journalists working for LEADERSHIP, in a move seen as coming from an "oga at the top".

The four journalists… were summoned to the Force Headquarters following a story this newspaper published on a "presidential directive" to attack key opposition political parties' leaders.

LEADERSHIP learnt that, after the senior editors had written their statements as demanded by the police, they were told that they would not be released until they disclosed the source of the said story…

Prior to the arrest and detention of the four journalists, officers from the Force Headquarters had been visiting the newspaper's corporate office and demanding for the reporters of the story. They gave the impression that they only wanted to find out the source of the story, a directive, they averred, came from the presidency…

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At 8:26 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Leadership Newspapers Journalists Sue Nigerian Police, Demand N10 Million Damages

"The two Leadership Newspapers journalists, detained by the Nigerian police for a story about the presidency, have sued the police demanding N10 million damages…

"While Chinyere Fred-Adegbulugbe, former editor of the LEADERSHIP Sunday, now executive director, human capital; and Chuks Ohuegbe, Managing Editor, were released late Monday night, Messrs Amoekedo and Ukaibe were released earlier this evening."

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Presidency Defends Arrest of Leadership Journalists

"The presidency said the police did not do anything wrong by investigating the Leadership Newspapers on its story on a presidential directive allegedly targeted at the opposition elements.

"Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media and Publicity Ruben Abati said… 'The circulation of a fictitious "presidential directive" that seeks in the main to cause civil strife, engender a breakdown of law and order, and negate the values of our democracy is a very grievous act indeed that should not be ignored… '

"'The Leadership newspaper should see this as an opportunity to co-operate with the police as required by the laws of the land. The police have not done anything outside the law. The trite rule is that nobody is above the laws of the land. It is also within the powers of the police to invite persons for questioning and to conduct investigations, which was what they have done so far in the Leadership case.'"

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Police Rearrest LEADERSHIP Editors

The Nigeria Police Force yesterday rearrested and detained the LEADERSHIP Newspapers’ group news editor Mr Tony Amokeodo and political correspondent Mr Chibuzo Ukaibe.

LEADERSHIP learnt that the duo were driven to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters’ detention centre and locked up.

The latest move by the police, seen as a further attempt to frustrate the newspaper and its journalists, as well as muzzle the media, is coming barely one week after the duo were detained… following a story on a presidential directive targeted at the country’s opposition political parties that LEADERSHIP carried…


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