ABUJA (AFP) – Nigeria’s government on Tuesday called for media “restraint” in reporting Boko Haram, after the military raided a newspaper that published a sensitive story on the insurgency.
Soldiers seized computers and mobile phones, and detained two journalists from the Daily Trust at its offices in the northeastern city of Maiduguri last Sunday.
Troops also raided the newspaper’s headquarters in Abuja and its office in the southwestern city of Lagos, triggering an outcry and calls for freedom of the press to be respected.
The army, which has threatened the media with legal action for reporting non-official information on the conflict, accused the newspaper of compromising national security.
A front-page article last Sunday said troops were preparing a fight-back after the extremists overran two military bases on the shores of Lake Chad in northern Borno state.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed echoed the military line and called the situation a “very serious issue”.
“The media must strike a fine balance between the constitutionally guaranteed freedom to receive and impart information and national security,” he told reporters.
The government was “not about to gag the press”, he promised, after comparisons were made to media harassment and repression during decades of military rule.
“But the media must exercise restraint and show more responsibility in reporting the insurgency,” he said.