A Senior Researcher at the Committee to Protect Journalists, Jonathan Rozen has said about 14 journalists had been detained, attacked, or harassed by security agencies, political supporters, and private citizens in Nigeria during the Presidential election.
He made the disclosure during an interview on Arise Television monitored by Church Times on Tuesday, February 28.
Rozen has been in the country in the last two weeks to monitor the elections. His business however is to seek the welfare of journalists covering the election and find out how they are being treated.
He said the journalists in question were detained, attacked, or harassed in Lagos, Bauchi, Bayelsa, and a few other places.
According to him, some of the journalists were harassed in the course of performing their duty. “Journalists had their content deleted from their devices. When security forces are stopping journalists, taking their phones, and deleting footage or photographs, that sends a pretty clear message.”
Though he did not mention the names of most of the affected journalists, he said one journalist, Haruna Mohammed Salisu, remained in detention in Bauchi.
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Rozen said he interviewed about 50 journalists and members of civil society in October 2022 during an earlier trip to Nigeria. He noted that the safety of journalists is paramount in the discharge of their duties adding that his organisation is committed to the safety of journalists.
He however refused to comment on the credibility of the election saying he was not competent to talk in that direction.
Jonathan Rozen is CPJ’s senior Africa researcher. Previously, he worked in South Africa, Mozambique, and Canada with the Institute for Security Studies, assessing Mozambican peace-building processes.
He also wrote analyses for the think tank adelphi on links between climate action and conflict prevention. Rozen was a U.N. correspondent for IPS News and has written for Al-Jazeera English and the International Peace Institute.