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Friday, 17 February 2012


Worried by what it identified as emerging signs of media repression in the country, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA), a media focused non-governmental organization has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to check the emerging dangerous trend of systematic media repression across the country in order not to erode one of his few legacies which is protection of media freedom as demonstrated in his signing of the freedom of Information Act of 2011.

In a media statement endorsed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the Director of media, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA lamented that media workers have continued to face institutional obstacles and unwarranted physical and psychological torture by armed security operatives in all parts of the country which have largely inhibited the exercise of the fundamental freedom of expression and the right of the journalists to execute their legitimate assignments.

HURIWA specifically criticized the recent ban of Journalists by the state security service (SSS) from the Lagos International Airport Press center and tasked President Jonathan to immediately reverse the oppressive, undemocratic, unconstitutional and illegal policy of stopping Aviation journalists from exercising their Constitutional duties in compliance with section 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

The Rights group claimed in the statement that operatives of the State Security service (SSS) and the protocol department attached to the Presidential wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, reportedly barred Journalists from accessing the press centre used by the Aviation correspondents in more than thirty years on the nebulous ground that an order from the Presidency directed that media workers be chased out of the media center.

Sources said the presidency was uncomfortable with certain reports on movements of top government and private functionaries around the Airport; the most recent was a photo showing the Ooni of Ife using a presidential Jet.

But HURIWA said the action of the security operatives amounted to the breach of section 22 of the 1999 constitution as amended which constitutionally authorized media workers to discharge the supreme obligation of covering activities of public and private functionaries and institutions just as the Rights group further averred that the ban on the journalists amounted to a flagrant show of brute force reminiscent of the dark days of military dictatorship just as it asked the Federal government to stop building impediments for the smooth practice of journalism which is imperative for the promotion, protection and nurturing of respect for the human rights of the citizenry, Rule of law and advancement of democracy.

HURIWA said: “we are unhappy that even after the current administration signed the freedom of Information Act of 2011 which is a very commendable step, the same federal administration has decided to use the instrumentality of military force to impede the implementation of this brilliant law and the transparent practice of Journalism by media workers”.
HURIWA also lamented that media workers in North East Nigeria have recently come under unprovoked attack by armed splinter group and also condemned the gruesome killing by suspected boko Haram insurgents of the Kano state reporter of Channels television in the recent bomb explosions in Kano State.


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