Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Journalists detained and blocked from covering northern Nigerian conflict

20 February 2012

Nigerian soldiers in Jos detained and expelled three journalists working for the French television station TF1 on Feb. 5, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Military personnel questioned French journalist Jeremie Drieu, an unnamed TF1 videographer, and local journalist Ahmad Salkida after they attempted to enter the region that has been the target of Boko Haram attacks. According to the Associated Press report, the soldiers went through some of TF1’s video footage and accused Salkida of being “not patriotic,” for aiding the international journalists.

Soldiers then escorted the journalists back to their hotel where they were forced out of Plateau State. "The official reason was security, which was absurd, because it is not safe to take the road at night," Drieu told the Associated Press.

Jos is the capital of the Plateau State, one of four states in which President Goodluck Jonathan called a state of emergency on Dec. 31, 2011. Jonathan’s announcement came in response to a slew of bombings, attributed to Boko Haram, which killed 49 people on Christmas day. The state of emergency came with orders to seal the borders according to an AFP report.

Two Nigerian journalists have already been killed in this region in 2012.
Although there are proven dangers for journalists in the region, the Committee to Protect Journalists reports that journalists have been "harassed and obstructed" from covering the conflict.

Two days after journalists were thrown out of Plateau state, AllAfrica reported the arrest of a journalist in the Presidential wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.

Journalists must have government accreditation in order to work in the Presidential wing of the airport, which is policed by the protocol department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and State Security Service, SSS. Protocol department officials have always had a “running battle” with the journalists, according to the AllAfrica report. Many have applied but have not received accreditation.

The airport arrest came only one day after Chairman of Lagos State chapter of Nigeria Union of Journalists Deji Elumoye met with the head of the protocol department Afolabi Oduniyi. Elumoye called the meeting to “stop further harassment of the journalists to enable them do their job unhindered,” according to AllAfrica.

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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