IPI Congratulates the Nigerian Press on CNN MultiChoice Free Press Africa Award
Hailing the Media’s Resilience, IPI Calls on the Government to Prosecute Journalists’ Attackers
By: Naomi Hunt, Senior Press Freedom Adviser
VIENNA, July 23, 2012 – The International Press Institute (IPI) congratulates the journalists honoured at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards Ceremony, including the many publishers and editors of IPI’s national committee in Nigeria.
The 2012 Free Press Africa Award was given to the Nigerian press corps as a whole, whom the judges cited for “their bravery in continuing to report though they face the ire of Boko Haram and other terror groups in operating across West Africa and in the Sahel.”
The award was presented by Ferial Haffajee, chairperson of the 2012 Judging Panel, who is the chief editor of City Press newspaper in South Africa and a member of IPI’s executive board.
The prize was given in the names of Enenche Akogwu of Channels TV and Zakariyya Isa of the Nigerian Television Authority. Isa was killed by gunmen near his home in Maiduguri in October 2011, while Akogwu was shot while filming the aftermath of a Boko Haram attack in Kano city in January 2012.
“We congratulate the Nigerian media on the well-deserved accolades they received at the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist 2012 Awards Ceremony this weekend,” said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie. “Moreover, we hope that the award spurs the Nigerian government into action. The people behind the recent deadly attacks against journalists and the press must be found and prosecuted.”
Over the past 12 months, six journalists were killed in Nigeria either while on the job or possibly because of their work. Spokespersons for Boko Haram have repeatedly threatened the press over their coverage of the terrorist organization. On April 26, 2012, the Abuja plant of ThisDay newspaper and the shared office building of several newspapers in Kaduna were targeted in two bomb attacks that left several media workers dead, and many more injured.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks the next day, when a spokesperson said in an interview that ThisDay and other publications were being targeted for engaging in a “negative media campaign” against the militants.