Following increasing anti-press violence and prosecutions especially by government officials and security agencies, Nigeria has emerged as the most dangerous place in Africa, after Somalia, for journalists, a survey released on Thursday morning by global media advocacy organisation, the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), has revealed.
The survey shows that this is perhaps the darkest time for journalists in the country as this is the first time Nigeria will appear on the CPJ’s Global Impunity Index which calculates unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population.
The report said Nigerian Journalists had experienced a decade of relative security before the recent targeting of journalists.
“Rocked by militants in the north and politically inspired aggression nationwide, Nigeria has become one of the worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press,” the survey declared.
With five journalists murdered in relation to their work since 2009, the survey said Nigeria “has the second worst impunity rating in Africa, behind only Somalia. Those covering the activities of the extremist Muslim group Boko Haram are particularly vulnerable. In 2012, assailants shot and killed Enenche Akogwu of independent Channels TV as he reported on the aftermath of terrorist attacks in the northern city of Kano.”
“Investigations into these killings are usually carried out with sloppiness, and no real culprits are caught,” said Ayode Longe, a senior officer with the Media Rights Agenda, a press freedom group in Nigeria, who was quoted in the report.
“That has emboldened others to assault journalists, believing nothing would be done to them,” Mr. Longe added.
Journalists and media houses have come under direct threat, intimidation and physical violence in the past year from the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Media houses with dissenting opinions have been fined or shutdown; and editors and reporters harassed and beaten up by soldiers and policemen.