The Nigerian Government through the Department of State Services (DSS) has accredited only ten media groups for the coverage of the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) planned for Monday, July 26th.
Kanu, who was re-arrested in questionable circumstances in faraway Kenya, would be facing accusations bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, illegal possession of arms, among others, before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
To keep the trial from being overshadowed, the DSS limited the number of media outlets allowed to cover it to ten.
Those accredited include Daily Post, Premium Times, Thisday, The Nation, The Herald, and Daily Independent newspapers while the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) is leading the broadcast side.
Other broadcast media are Channels Television, Africa Independent Television, and TVC.
Meanwhile, Omoyele Sowore, a human rights activist, has called the DSS’s decision to censor and limit media coverage of the trial a violation of press freedom, saying that the DSS has no authority to authorize journalists covering the trial.
He stated this in a post on his Twitter handle and Facebook page: “DSS has no right to accredit journalists covering #FreeDunamis5 #FreeNnamdiKanuNow. Lawless DSS has ‘accredited’ only 10 media houses to cover @MaziNnamdiKanu’s trial, it will be a shame and a crime against #freepress for any independent news source to apply to DSS for accreditation. This is highly condemnable and embarrassing! #BuhariMustGo #RevolutionNow.
“These media houses must withdraw from this sabotage of free press. The DSS has no right to engage in the accreditation of media houses to cover a public trial in a Federal High Court in Nigeria. The judiciary should be ashamed that its independence has been compromised completely by the executive.”