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Coalition condemns ‘arrest of journalist’ by Katsina Hisbah police

Hisbah officers Hisbah officers

The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has condemned the arrest and detention of Jamil Mabai, a freelance journalist with the Daily Trust newspapers, by operatives of the Katsina Hisbah police.

On May 14, Mabai reportedly went to the Hisbah office for an interview with the public relations officer after an alleged shooting of a resident by operatives of the outfit but was arrested and detained.

The journalist narrated his experience in a telephone conversation with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).

“Despite explaining that I was a journalist there for an interview with the public relations officer, they confiscated my phone before holding me in a cell,” the journalist narrated his experience.

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“I was later brought before the commandant in his office. He threatened me and said I was fighting the religion of Islam because anyone who fights Hisbah fights the religion, and there is nothing I or anybody can do.”

Reacting to the development in a statement on Wednesday, the CWPPF faulted Mabai’s arrest and detention while urging the state government to provide a safe working environment for journalists.

“We find it disturbing that a journalist is subjected to such abuse of his fundamental rights by Hisbah, a state-owned security outfit,” the statement reads.

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“Arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists in the course of their work not only violates the basic principles of democracy, it also represents a disregard for the rule of law and is a violation of the people’s right to access information.”

The coalition added that the arrest “violates the principles of democracy and the fundamental right to information”.

The CWPPF called on the state government to “immediately conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and ensure that perpetrators are brought to book.”

The coalition urged the “government on all levels” to respect and protect the freedom of the press.

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Some members of the coalition include Premium Times, TheCable, Daily Trust, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), and the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), among others.

 

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