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Nigeria


CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index spotlights countries where journalists are slain and the killers go free

Iraq

Unsolved Murders: 100

Population: 32.6 million

Rank: 1

Somalia

Unsolved Murders: 26

Population: 10.2 million

Rank: 2

The Philippines

Unsolved Murders: 51

Population: 96.7 million

Rank: 3

Sri Lanka

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 20.3 million

Rank: 4

Syria

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 22.4 million

Rank: 5

Afghanistan

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 29.8 million

Rank: 6

Mexico

Unsolved Murders: 16

Population: 120.8 million

Rank: 7

Colombia

Unsolved Murders: 6

Population: 47.7 million

Rank: 8

Pakistan

Unsolved Murders: 22

Population: 179.2 million

Rank: 9

Russia

Unsolved Murders: 14

Population: 143.5 million

Rank: 10

Brazil

Unsolved Murders: 9

Population: 198.7 million

Rank: 11

Nigeria

Unsolved Murders: 5

Population: 168.8 million

Rank: 12

India

Unsolved Murders: 7

Population: 1,237 million

Rank: 13

For two months, editors were blocked from posting Premium Times' links on the outlet's Facebook page. (Facebook)

Turkey's prime minister made headlines last week by threatening to block Facebook in the country, but as recent events in Nigeria show, a more discreet intervention can be effective in disrupting the free flow of information. 

After a decade of unprecedented growth and development, the insistence on positive news remains a significant threat to press freedom in sub-Saharan Africa. By Mohamed Keita

A newspaper displayed in the Ikoyi district of Lagos on September 30, 2013, tells of a deadly attack on a college in northeast Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants. Coverage of the group can be sensitive in Nigeria. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)
A newspaper displayed in the Ikoyi district of Lagos on September 30, 2013, tells of a deadly attack on a college in northeast Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram militants. Coverage of the group can be sensitive in Nigeria. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

The government of President Goodluck Jonathan used legal tools as well as brutal means to clamp down on media coverage deemed critical of the government. Sensitive and dangerous topics for the press included coverage of high-level public corruption, the government's war against Boko Haram insurgents, and the political activities of the Jonathan administration. Regulatory agencies headed by Jonathan-appointed officials cracked down on radio commentary critical of the government, and banned a radio station in connection with its criticism of an official polio immunization campaign. Film regulators also banned an acclaimed documentary detailing a culture of impunity for public corruption. The administration criminally charged the independent newspaper Leadership over the publication of a memo allegedly written by the president on plans to increase gas prices and sabotage a merger of opposition political parties. Amid continuing military action against insurgents in the north, security forces also harassed a newspaper in connection with its investigative report on alleged extrajudicial detentions of terrorism suspects. The government amended the anti-terrorism law to include broadly defined offenses that criminalize some legitimate newsgathering activities, according to news reports. Nigeria appeared for the first time on CPJ's Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are murdered regularly and killers go free.

Unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle shot Callistus Ewelike at close range in front of his house in Nyanya, Abuja, at night on January 13, 2014, news reports said. The journalist's neighbours rushed him to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery for injuries to his neck, the reports said. The assailants did not take any of Ewelike's personal items.

Armed state security agents on October 24, 2013, in the commercial capital, Lagos, barred journalists from covering the arraignment of 17 suspected members of the Boko Haram militant group on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, illegal possession of firearms, and being members of a proscribed organization, according to news reports.

The Nigerian government on September 27, 2013, accused two leading independent online news websites--the Abuja-based Premium Times and the New York-based Sahara Reporters--of publishing frequent reports that "incite mutiny" within the military and undermine ongoing military operations against terrorist activities in northern Nigeria, according to news reports

An identified State Security Service agent publicly flogged a reporter on July 3, 2013, while he was on an official visit to the Benue State Government House to deliver a press invitation to the state governor's chief of staff, according to news reports.

Authorities re-filed forgery charges against these two Leadership journalists. (Courtesy Leadership)

Abuja, Nigeria, June 27, 2013--Nigerian authorities should stop the legal harassment of journalists in connection with a critical story about President Goodluck Jonathan's political plans, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A reporter and editor for the Nigerian daily Leadership, and a representative of the Leadership parent company, were arraigned in court today and charged anew with forgery along with new counts that could put them in prison for life.

Nigeria's press freedom record is on the decline.

For the first time since 2008, when CPJ began publishing its annual Impunity Index, Nigeria has made the list of the "worst nations in the world for deadly, unpunished violence against the press."

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Killed in Nigeria

10 journalists killed since 1992

8 journalists murdered

7 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

2 News organizations targeted in bomb attacks by Boko Haram.

Country data, analysis »

Contact

Africa

Program Coordinator:
Sue Valentine

Advocacy Coordinator:
Mohamed Keita

East Africa Consultant:
Tom Rhodes

West Africa Consultant:
Peter Nkanga

svalentine@cpj.org
mkeita@cpj.org
trhodes@cpj.org
pnkanga@cpj.org

Tel: 212-465-1004
ext. 117
Fax: 212-465-9568

330 7th Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY, 10001 USA

Twitter: @africamedia_CPJ

Blog: Sue Valentine
Blog: Mohamed Keita
Blog: Tom Rhodes
Blog: Peter Nkanga