‘Attack on journalists dangerous for democracy’
The Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD) has flayed what it called onslaught against press freedom and journalists in Akwa Ibom State.
In a statement signed by Inibehe Effiong and Eneh John, convener and secretary, the group said it was particularly saddened by “the unlawful and undemocratic manipulation of the Department of State Service (DSS) by the state government in a bid to suppress all forms of perceived anti-government reports in the media, especially the local media in Akwa Ibom State.
“On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, a newspaper vendor by name Mr. Ndifreke Asuquo Etim was assaulted by a former senator. This unfortunate incident took place right inside the Akwa Ibom State Government House where the vendor had gone to sell his papers. The only explanation offered by the senator for assaulting the vendor was that he advertised local newspapers that reported ‘unfavourable’ stories against the state government.
Also, on Saturday, October 3, 2015, Mr. Gideon Ekere, publisher of a local tabloid in Akwa Ibom State, Global Post Newspaper, was arrested by armed operatives of the DSS. COHRD appealed to the Director General of the DSS to as a matter of urgency independently investigate the role of the DSS in Akwa Ibom State in the ongoing clampdown on journalists.