Nigeria was the worst violator of press freedom during the second quarter of 2015, a report by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has revealed.
The report is based on analyses of incidents of violations of press freedom in the 16 countries in West Africa and published as the quarterly West Africa Free Expression Monitor. According to the second quarterly report of 2015, which covered April to June, Nigeria recorded 11 incidents of violations, an increase of one from the first quarter. Nigeria recorded nearly three times more than the second worst offender, Guinea, which recorded 4 incidents. The MFWA recorded 32 incidents from April to June, 2015, down from 43 recorded incidents in the first quarter.
During the period covered by the report, incidents of violations were reported in ten countries. Besides Nigeria and Guinea, incidents were reported in Benin (3), Burkina Faso (1), Côte d’Ivoire (1), The Gambia (3), Ghana (3), Niger (3), Senegal (1), and Togo (2).
Though abuses by police or security forces reduced from 25 incidents in the first quarter to 16 this quarter, they were still the top violators in the region. Their actions clearly contravene states’ obligation to respect and protect human rights, including the right to free expression.
“Although police and security forces are mandated to respect and protect human rights, they have instead continued to infringe upon free expression rights and journalists’ safety,” said Muheeb Saeed, the Programme Officer for Free Expression Rights Monitoring and Campaigns.
The West Africa Free Expression Monitor analyses incidents of violations of press freedom in all 16 countries in West Africa – the 15 ECOWAS member states plus Mauritania. It highlights where violations occurred as well as the types of violations and perpetrators and other salient issues, such as media unprofessionalism.