Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) is calling on the Nigerian authorities to drop charges against sports journalist-Kufre Carter.
Kufre Carter who works with XL 109.6FM in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state was on April 27 2020 arrested by personnel of the State Services a day after he responded to summons on charges of conspiracy and defamation.
The journalist was sued by the Akwa Ibom state government over a purportedly leaked private phone conversation between an anonymous medical personnel and another believed to be a radio presenter, the audio clip posted on First Reports was critical of the state commissioner for health over his poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.
“Yesterday evening, I received a phone call from the Head of Operations of the SSS in Uyo, inviting me for questioning today by 10:00am at their office over an audio clip about the state of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State which they alleged has my voice as one of the speakers” tweeted Carter on April 26.
The next day, Carter was arrested and held in detention for one month, and was only released five days after fulfilling the bail conditions and paying a bail bond of #200,000 about ($435).
Court hearing was earlier slated for July 17; however, prosecuting council requested an adjournment to a later date due to another official engagement.
AMDF spoke to with Kufre Carter who confirmed that the case is still in court and the next date for hearing is 28th August 2020.
The media in Nigeria has witnessed a worrying increase in the harrassment of journalists and media organizations in the last 5 years and even more the victims rarely get justice.
We are calling on the government to drop charges against Kufre Carter; authorities in Nigeria must stop seeing the press as enemies of the state but as relevant partners/stakeholders in entrenching democracy.