The Association of Cross River Online Journalists, ACROJ has condemned the recent arrest of publishers of Nigeria’s foremost investigative journalism portals, SaharaReporters and PremiumTimes by security agents.

Omoyele Sowore Publisher of SaharaReporters and Dapo Olorunyomi were both arrested recently by security agents for doing their jobs.

A statement from the association signed by the Acting Chairman, Mr. Hope Obeten said the attempt by security agents to encroach into the freedom of the press was meant to intimidate practitioners but vowed that the effort was futile.

The statement added that the Press is an indispensable partner in the fight against criminality and the security agents should refrain from actions that will make it seem otherwise.

“On behalf of the Executive and members of the Association of Cross River Online Journalists, ACROJ, we condemn in strong terms the recent attack on independent online news platform, Premium Times, head office in Abuja and the arrest of the newspaper’s Publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu by the Nigeria Police.

“We also condemn the unlawful arrest and detention of the Publisher of investigative news medium, Sahara Reporters, Sowore Omoyele, two weeks ago by the Police in Lagos state.

“We consider these two incidences a deliberate attempt by external forces to intimidate and stifle online media houses and this is a dangerous threat to the freedom of expression and independent media in our country.

“We wish to clearly state that the Free Press remains an indispensable part of the democratic process and practitioners will not be intimidated or cowed in the discharge of our constitutional responsibility.

“We therefore call on security agencies across the country not to see journalists as social competitors but partners in progress in the fight against criminality and other social vices in the society.

“ACROJ, hereby expresses its solidarity with the affected media houses and urge all online journalists to be relentless in the discharge of their social responsibilities. The media as the fourth estate of the realm will always remain a partner the fight against corruption, promoting accountability and transparency in governance.”

The Association of Cross River Online Journalists ACROJ, is the registered union of practicing online journalists in Cross River state.

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