Lagos - Media rights groups on Tuesday condemned the
detention by police of Nigerian journalists who refused to disclose their
source for a disputed story about the president.
Police on Monday detained and interrogated four journalists
from the independent Leadership newspaper.
They have since been released from custody, but ordered to
report to police headquarters in the capital Abuja every morning, the company's
Managing Director Azubuike Ishikwene told AFP.
"This is unacceptable to us... We will decide whether
or not they will report at the police headquarters tomorrow," Ishikwene
Earlier on Tuesday, he charged that two of his staff, Tony
Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, had been held incommunicado for more than 24
The two other journalists questioned in the case were
Chinyere Fred-Adebulugbe and Chuks Ohuegbe, who were released late Monday.
"If the president feels offended by an article, he has
a number of ways to respond other than launching a harassment campaign,"
Reporters Without Borders said in a statement on Tuesday.
On April 3, Leadership published a document it claimed was
drafted in President Goodluck Jonathan's office that calls for sabotaging an
opposition coalition which has weighed fronting a unity candidate for 2015
Jonathan's spokesperson swiftly dismissed the document as a
forgery and police have confirmed that an investigation has been launched into
the origins of the report.
According to Leadership, police demanded to know the source
of the document, which the reporters refused to disclose.
The police were not immediately available to comment on
Media Rights Agenda, a local press freedom group, called on
Nigeria "to put a leash on its rampaging law enforcement agents".
The government "has nothing to gain but everything to
lose by projecting to the international community and its citizens an image of
a lawless government which muzzles the media", the group further said.