IFJ Calls on Nigeria to End Media Intimidation Ahead of Elections

Apr. 21, 2007

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on Nigerian authorities to put an end of media intimidation ahead of tomorrows presidential elections after the recent raid of a television station in Abuja by intelligence service and the shut down of two other media outlets in the last 10 days.

We condemn this attempt by the Nigerian authorities to intimidate the media, said Gabriel Baglo Director of IFJ Africa office. We call on the government to put an end to these blatant press freedom violations and to put back on air the closed media and return seized materials.

On 17 April, officers of the Nigerian intelligence agency, the State Security Services (SSS), raided the Abuja office of the private television station African Independent Television (AIT). The officers seized the transmission tape of a documentary critical of President Olusegun Obasanjos term which was being aired when they arrived. Other tapes were confiscated.

According to This Day newspaper, the SSS spokesman, Ado Muazu said that AIT was raided because of a report aired earlier in the day which the service considered as having security implication.

The week before, on 11 April security officers raided two other private broadcasters the radio station Link FM and the television station GTV. The offices of both stations have been sealed since then. No reason was given for these actions. davaotoday.com

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