Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Nigeria16 May 2006

Calls for third presidential term increase pressure on news media

Reacting to a heavy-handed secret police raid on a TV station on 14 May, Reporters Without Borders today urged the Nigerian authorities to show more restraint towards the press and said it feared there could be more attacks on journalists critical of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow President Olusegun Obasanjo to run for a third term.

“The debate about a third presidential term must be allowed to take place,” the press freedom organisation said. “It is unacceptable that the constitutional amendment’s opponents are subject to intimidation by the president’s supporters, whether policemen or political activists. Those running the government must ensure respect for the basic rules of democratic debate.”

On 14 May, eight members of the State Security Service (SSS) burst into the offices of Daar Communications Limited - which owns radio Ray Power FM and the TV station Africa Independent Television (AIT) - in Asokoro, a district of the federal capital, Abuja.

Claiming they had been sent by the president’s office, they confiscated a documentary that had been aired on AIT two days before. Called “A Documentary on Tenure Elongation,” it was about all the unsuccessful attempts by previous Nigerian rulers to remain in office longer than they were supposed to. It was funded by an independent pressure group called the “National Patriots,” which is opposed to a third term for Obasanjo.

Nigeria’s oldest privately-owned TV station, ATI has been in the government’s sights since it began carrying live broadcasts of the national assembly debates about the amendment to the 1999 constitution proposed in recent weeks by Obasanjo’s supporters, which could allow both the president and state governors to run for another four-year term.

Meanwhile, death threats have been made against James Ojo, the national assembly correspondent for the privately-owned daily The Sun, after he upset Obasanjo supporters. He has received several anonymous phone calls in which he was told his life would be at risk if he did not stop his “negative reporting on the third term.”



In this country
22 January - Nigeria
Investigation into journalist’s murder entrusted to judicial police
20 January - Nigeria
Journalist escapes attack on her home by armed men
28 November - Nigeria
Four journalists face trial over article suggesting President in poor health
18 November - Nigeria
Online journalist Emmanuel Emeka Asiwe freed after one week
4 November - Nigeria
Second online journalist arrested in one week

in the annual report
Nigeria - Annual Report 2008
Nigeria - Annual Report 2007
Nigeria - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives
archives

reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists