The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has said nobody should be jailed or convicted for investigative journalism.
The US-based group responsible for the protection of journalists globally reacted to the arrest of Nigerian journalists, Gidado Yushau and Alfred Olufemi on conspiracy and defamation charges.
It called on authorities to reform and recalibrate its judicial process so that authoritarian state actors would not compromise the universal freedom of information.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator speaking from New York, disclosed on Friday that it is appalling for journalists to be convicted for publishing an investigative report.
In less than a week from Friday, precisely 7 February 2023, a magistrate court in Nigeria’s southern Kwara State convicted Yushau, publisher of the privately owned website News Digest, and freelance reporter Olufemi of criminal defamation and conspiracy with an option of paying N100,000 fine.
“CPJ gathered that the duo were convicted in 2019 over a report about alleged cannabis use at a rice processing facility following a complaint by a company representative, Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industries. Before charges were filed
“Nigerian journalists Gidado Yushau and Alfred Olufemi should never have been charged, let alone convicted, for publishing an investigative report about a factory”, the CJP coordinator said.