WAJA Blasts Clampdown On Journalists In Nigeria

The West African Journalists Association is alarmed over the growing state of insecurity for Nigerian journalists and calls on authorities to ensure their safety.

In the face of the Boko Haram horror that is terrorizing the Nigerian population and our region, WAJA says it is extremely troubling that state security personnel have decided to target journalists whom they should be protecting.

“Such clampdown on the media is simply unacceptable and does not help the government’s fight against militants who are killing people indiscriminately, including innocent school children,” says WAJA President Peter Quaqua.

On Friday 6 June 2014, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) reported an attack on four leading newspapers by personnel of the Nigerian Military in varying circumstances leading to the confiscation of the papers publications.

Papers attacked in the security operation were: The Nation, Leadership, Daily Trust and The Punch. The action is said to have “followed intelligence report(s) indicating movement of materials with grave security implications across the country using the channel of newsprint-related consignments”.

But the seizure came only three days after one of the papers, ‘The Leadership’ published a story on June 3, that ten army generals and five senior officers had been court martialed and found guilty of assisting Boko Haram. The military described the report as “very unfortunate and meant to do maximum damage to the image of (the) Nigerian Army and its personnel”.

While identifying with the army’s frustration in dealing with the terror attacks, WAJA warns against opening a new frontier in this fight.
“The media has already suffered Boko Haram attacks, the government cannot afford to be a perpetrator – we call for a cease fire,” added the WAJA President.

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Author: D K Sengbeh

Danicius Kaihenneh Sengbeh (author of Sengbeh's Weblog) is a respected and renowned Liberian journalist, poet and writer with with journalism experience since 2001, of working both as a mainstream journalist and a communication/media consultant in Liberia. He is Secretary General of the Press Union of Liberia (elected Dec 2013). He was Assistant Secretary General of the Union Dec 2011 to Dec 2013. He is also Editor-In-Chief of The Informer Newspaper—one of Liberia’s credible dailies. Before joining the Informer, Danicius had served as reporter, chief reporter, sub-editor and News Editor at The Independent Newspaper between 2002 and 2006. Before then, he was reporter at the defunct Patriot Newspaper and Kiss FM 2001-2002. Danicius is a UN Media Fellow and Liberia’s first UN Medal Award-winning journalist for his contribution to journalism and for being the second Liberian journalist in 15 years to qualify for and successfully attended the United Nations’ Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalist Fellowship Program in New York and Geneva, Switzerland in 2012. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Mass Communication and Sociology from the University of Liberia and a Diploma in Journalism from the International School of Journalism. He holds several awards and recognitions both in and outside of journalism, and carries dozens of certificates in journalism and communication from studies in Ghana, China, United States and Switzerland, among others. He volunteers as Chair of the Information and Communication Committee of his local Bardnersville community. He can be quickly reached via (+231) 886586531/777586531/777464018/ dakasen1978@yahoo.com

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