31 December 2012

Nigeria: Al-Mizan - Rights Group Says Arrest an Attempt to Kill Freedom of Expression

Photo: Vanguard
Nigerian Army

Zaria — The Civil Rights Congress yesterday said any attempt to intimidate the media by the country's security agents would amount to killing freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution.

In a statement sent to our correspondent, the President of the Congress, Shehu Sani, said the onslaught against Al-Mizan reporter and editor is an affront against any democratic values.

"It is also an ugly stain on the nation's image and the credibility of the government. We therefore express concern over the continued detention of the two Al-Mizan journalists, Musa Muhammed Awwal and Aliyu Saleh.

"The raid on the homes and offices of the journalists is unreservedly condemned. We reject and denounce any excuses or justification given by the security agents or the government to trample upon the right to free press and freedom of expression. No democracy can thrive with an officially sanctioned hostility on the media. Freedom of expression and of the media is an indispensable ingredient of a free society.

"We recognize the statuary responsibility of the security agents to fight terror and maintain peace and order but it must in no way be done at the expense of our fundamental and democratic rights. Our leaders must learn to live with the bitter truth of a free press than live with a culture of lies and deception that pervades officialdom. It is unimaginable that over a decade after the exit of the military from power, we are still far off from the brigandage and arbitrariness reminiscent of the era of the locust. Each day spent by these journalists in jail is a day gained by tyranny, we therefore call for their immediate release," Sani said.

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