Two foreign based organizations, Committee to Protect Journalists and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) have asked Nigerian government to stop the “malicious” prosecution of Journalists in the country.
The United States of American and United Kingdom based organizations who reacted to the incarceration of a Kaduna State based Journalist Mr. Luka Binniyat, said “charging a journalist with ‘breach of peace’ simply for informing the public is unacceptable, and arbitrarily throwing him in prison when he appears for a hearing is outrageous.”
The Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) in a statement by its Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas, called on the former British Minister, Mr. Tony Blair to “assist in addressing the challenges to rule of law posed by these arrests and prosecutions, encouraging respect for press freedom and advocating for protection and justice fortargeted communities in southern Kaduna,”
A judge in Kaduna High Court had ordered the journalist to be detained on charges of “breach of public peace” and false reporting over news story he wrote in Vanguard Newspaper.
“Charging a journalist with ‘breach of peace’ simply for informing the public is unacceptable, and arbitrarily throwing him in prison when he appears for a hearing is outrageous,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal. “Nigerian authorities should immediately release Luka Binniyat and drop all charges against him.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) added that it is concerned at the “remanding in custody of a Christian journalist for publishing an incorrect story. His case is an example of eroding press freedom and indicates an inequality before the law of different religious communities in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.”
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “The decision to prosecute Mr Binniyat and remand him in custody in his current physical condition is excessive, particularly given his efforts to pull the offending story prior to publication. We are concerned at the uneven application of the law. Mr Binniyat, a Christian, has been penalized for this offence while Muslims who have committed similar offences have not been questioned, detained or prosecuted. Such selective prosecutions not only undermine the rule of law, but also erode confidence in a state government that has yet to address the violence in southern Kaduna effectively, or to assist those displaced by the attacks.”