The arbitrary detention of Premium Times reporter, Samuel Ogundipe, signifies a deliberate attempt by the Federal Government to target progressive media for attacks.
Two media right groups on Wednesday said the recent onslaught on Premium Times also appears to represent the signs of media repression that is likely to be witnessed ahead of the coming elections.
In a joint statement the Journalists for Democratic Rights and the Centre for Media Advocacy and Research Network, said it was the second time in a short while that Premium Times has been singled out for repression.
The statement was signed by Adewale Adeoye (JODER) and Martins Ogwuche (CEMARN).
The groups asked the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to call the Police order and ensure the immediate release of the detained journalist or face a massive anti-government campaign.
Apart from detaining Ogundipe, Premium Times Editor-In-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, and the education correspondent, Azeezat Adedigba, were also detained though later released.
The groups said Section 22 of 1999 Constitution places the responsibility on the Nigerian media to hold the country and its leaders accountable to the people, adding that this was exactly what the reporter did.
It said the main weapon usually applied by journalists to fulfill this obligation is investigative reporting.
The groups said the police cannot create its own standards outside the legal framework that governs the country.
The pro-media rights groups said: “The attack on Premium Times is a deliberate attempt to silence the progressive media and the ray of hope the people cherish. Premium Times represent good conscience and a tradition of high standards.
“The medium has consistently promoted the tenets of democracy, freedom of speech with rare courage nourished by honest intensions devoid of unethical practices associated with some conservative media many of who dance to the tune of the authority.”