Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, has urged the Akwa Ibom State government and the Department of State Secrvices, DSS, to ensure that due process was followed in the prosecution of journalists recently arrested in the state.
At least two journalists were arrested recently on the orders of the state government, in an apparent clampdown following uncomplimentary reports in the local media.
But CLO chairman in the state, Barr Clifford Thomas in an interaction with journalists yesterday in Uyo condemned the clampdown as unfair, adding that though the police and DSS had the right to investigate issues that could inflame the polity, such probe should be done in line with due process of law.
“The development that the media in the state has come under some kind of siege in the State is very worrisome,” he said.
According to the CLO chief, the court remained the original arbitration centre on such cases, adding that the court reserved the right to determine who erred in the matter.
While urging journalists to report with a sense of responsibility and ethics, Thomas said the human rights community was prepared to take on the matter if the victims with legitimate cases initiate action to that effect.
“Journalists should not castigate, malign and destroy the reputation of people at will,” he warned, calling on media practitioners to report infringements to the appropriate quarters, including lawyers, human rights bodies and Alternative Dispute Resolution Centres, ADRs.
Chairman of the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr Patrick Albert and the governor’s aide in charge of the local newspapers, Mr. Uko Umoh, had risen to condemn the matter.
They charged local journalists to work in line with the ethical standards as enshrined in the code of journalism practice.

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