Nigeria Newspaper Bureau Chief Harassed
IPI Concerned about Reported Treatment of Daily Times Journalist
By: Naomi Hunt, Press Freedom Adviser
VIENNA, 27 Oct. 2011 – The Abuja bureau chief of the Nigerian Daily Times was harassed by police officers in the capital Abuja on Wednesday, the newspaper reported on its website.
Michaela Moye was reportedly filming the demolition of “illegal” buildings when she was chased from the scene by members of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Daily Times said.
A policemen reportedly said she could not take pictures because the press had not been invited to cover the demolition. “Walahi, if I get you I will beat you up and break both that camera and your teeth for talking to me like that,” one police man was quoted by the Daily Times as saying. Moye was rescued by passers-by, the paper reported. The article linked to a 10-second YouTube video of Moye arguing with police.
IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: “We are concerned about the reports that Michaela Moye was allegedly threatened by a policeman while she was on assignment. Journalists should be able to work free of any form of intimidation. We urge the Nigerian authorities to ensure that law enforcement officers are fully aware of journalists’ rights, and that these rights are respected.”
Earlier this month, six journalists working for The Nation newspaper were detained for two days in connection with their coverage and reproduction of a letter apparently sent from former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to current President Goodluck Jonathan in which Obasanjo asks Jonathan to replace certain figures at public institutions. Obasanjo contends that the letter was forged and police continue to investigate the matter.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian House of Representatives asked Police Inspector General Hafiz Ringim to write a letter of apology to The Nation newspaper for the way police handled the investigation, which the House said was not implemented in good faith.