Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the pressure that has been put on privately-owned radio Link FM since the State Security Service (SSS) removed the seals on its entrance and allowed it to resume operating on 25 April.
The SSS warned the station’s management that it would be closed again if it sent any journalists to cover the current elections or if it broadcast any criticism of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The Lagos-based station was raided and closed down on 11 April.
12.04.07 Security forces close radio station and TV station three days before state elections
Reporters Without Borders today called on the federal authorities to permit the reopening of two new, Lagos-based broadcast media, Link FM and GTV, which were abruptly closed by the security forces yesterday, three days before elections for state governors and state parliaments.
“Elections should be a time when the government takes more care than ever to respect the rule of law,” the press freedom organisation said. “Instead, the security forces are sent without a warrant to shut down media that could be a nuisance during the polling. There is no justification for the enforced closure of Link FM and GTV, so the measure should be lifted and their personnel should be allowed to return to work.”
Eight members of the security forces burst into the Link FM and GTV studios in the Lagos district of Ketu at about 6 p.m. yesterday, ordering all the employees to leave and placing seals over the entrances. They said they were acting on “an order from above.” The studios were still closed this morning and staff were not allowed to enter.
The two stations began broadcasting just a few weeks ago and their director, Stanley Okoye, said he did not know why they had suddenly been closed.
But a Lagos-based journalist told Reporters Without Borders that the federal government wanted to prevent the opposition from using the media to immediately broadcast the results provided by the observers it is deploying to polling stations throughout the country in attempt to prevent the ruling party from rigging the 14 April elections.