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Opposition bemoans alleged media rights violations

09 June 2014, 09:34

Abuja - The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused security agencies and the President Goodluck Jonathan administration of violating the rights of media.

This follows the "unreasonable siege" on newspapers across the country.

In a statement issued in Lagos  by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the President "failed to learn the lessons of history that the Nigerian media can neither be intimidated nor suppressed by anyone, and that all those who tried to do so in the past lived to regret their actions."

"Had the government pursued the insurgents who are killing and maiming Nigerians with the same vigour with which it had descended on the media, the war against terror would have been long over,'' APC stated.

The party described as "disingenuous and ridiculous" the explanation that an intelligence alert was responsible for the "shameful" and "unacceptable clampdown" on the media, and the platitude that the Jonathan administration held the media in high esteem.

 ''Even if one believes the administration's babble that President Jonathan holds the media in high esteem, how can that be justified by the indignities being meted out to the media under his watch? How does the so-called intelligence report justify the arrest of media workers, detention of distribution vans and the impounding of newspapers?" APC quipped.

"How does it justify the restriction of newspaper circulation? How does it justify an Administration's efforts to tamper with fundamental rights guaranteed by the nation's constitution?"

The party said a government that had failed to provide security for its citizens, 12 000 of whom have died in the hands of Boko Haram since 2009, and a government that had "pauperized" its citizens rather than empowered them was "suddenly acting like someone pumped with steroids and wasting its artificial energy on tackling the media."

 ''President Jonathan gave a hint of what's to come when he blamed the media for over-reporting Boko Haram, forgetting that the media is only a mirror of the society. Our advice to the President is to immediately call a halt to the war on the media which his Administration has launched because it is one battle he cannot and will not win,'' it said.

Last week, the military said the search on vehicles ferrying newspapers was a security measure

- CAJ News

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