The Nigerian Government, through the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku has recently accused online media, specifically Premium Times and Sahara Reporters of publishing online reports deliberately contrived to undermine military strategy, demoralize Nigerian troops and even cause incitement to mutiny. This was said in reaction to the series of factual reports by Premium Times exposing the governments’ neglect of the Nigerian Troops in Mali as well as the violations of security forces confronting Boko Haram’s brutal insurgency.
The Minister has insinuated in his statements that the government is contemplating some forms of regulation in the use of social media for reportage. We wish to state that the Freedom of expression is a fundamental right guaranteed under Nigeria’s constitution and any attempt by the government to censor news media is an outright breach of this right in violation of not only the constitution but all international treaties ratified by Nigeria.
We commend these online news media and several others for their objective and independent position in the reportage of National issues and holding government and its officials accountable. The right of Nigerians to know is one that should never be undermined at anytime. We support these media as they continue to expose corruption, ineptitude and human rights abuses in private and public institutions. Their efforts are geared towards ensuring Nigerians make objective decisions on issues that impact on their daily lives