Bombing of Nigerian Newspaper Offices Condemned by Freedom House
Freedom House condemns the April 26 bombing attacks on several newspaper offices in Nigeria that have reportedly left at least seven people dead and 26 injured. The first attack occurred at the office of the newspaper This Day in the capital city of Abuja, as a jeep rammed into the building’s gate in an apparent suicide bombing. The second attack occurred in Kaduna, and involved a bomb thrown near the offices of This Day, as well as two other papers. The alleged second bomber is in custody, and is believed to be a member of Boko Haram, a radical Islamic sect that has threatened and killed journalists in the past, and warned journalists not to “misrepresent its views” as recently as last month. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan has called the attacks “ignoble, misguided, horrendous and wicked.”
“The recent influx in bombings have made Nigeria’s already-vulnerable climate for freedom of the press even worse,” said Courtney Radsch, senior program manager for Freedom House’s Global Freedom of Expression Campaign. “These attacks are a deplorable act of intimidation that must be immediately investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.”
There were no known specific threats made against This Day prior to the attacks, but the paper had recently increased security amid elevated levels of bombings and violence in the country. A count by the Associated Press credits Boko Haram with more than 440 deaths in Nigeria this year alone. Gunmen from the group killed at least 185 people, including a journalist, in an assault on the city of Kano in January. Nigeria continues to be a dangerous place for journalists, with disturbing incidents of intimidation, kidnapping, and murder in recent years.
Nigeria is rated Partly Free in Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press 2011 and Freedom in the World 2012 surveys.
Freedom in the World 2011: Nigeria
Freedom of the Press 2011: Nigeria