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Nigeria under Buhari now among world’s most dangerous countries for journalists: RSF

A study by Reporters Without Borders has revealed that the safety for journalists and political media in Nigeria has worsened under President Muhammadu Buhari.

• January 22, 2022
President Muhammadu Buhari and Journalists

A study by Reporters Without Borders has revealed that the safety for journalists and political media in Nigeria has worsened under President Muhammadu Buhari. 

This is contained in its Data of Press Freedom Ranking 2021, where 180 countries have been assessed. Nigeria ranks at 120, dropping from the rank of 115 recorded in 2020. 

In its country analysis titled “Climate of permanent violence” Reporters Without Borders notes that; “Nigeria is now one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists, who are often spied on, attacked, arbitrarily arrested or even killed. The campaign for the elections in which President Muhammadu Buhari obtained another term in February 2019 was marked by an unprecedented level of disinformation, especially on social media.”

The report notes the opposition faced by the media under the Buhari-led regime, citing journalists that were shot while covering Islamic Movement in Nigeria protests since July 2019 and the intimidation of press during the #EndSARS protests of 2020. 

“With more than 100 independent newspapers, Africa’s most populous nation enjoys real media pluralism but covering stories involving politics, terrorism, financial embezzlement by the powerful or conflicts between communities is very problematic,” the report added. 

This statement is underscored by the recent invasion of Peoples Gazette Abuja head office by officials of National Intelligence Agency, who demanded to see the managing editor and a reporter so they could reveal the source of a confidential memo that was the subject of an article published in December. 

“We strongly condemn the pressure being placed on this media outlet, which violates the most basic rights of journalists,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk.

“For an intelligence agency to conduct a raid on a news organisation in order to identify a source with the sole aim of protecting its own interests is extremely dangerous.”

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