Guild of Editors condemn arrest of Premium Times publisher, reporter

The Nigerian Guild of Editor has condemned the recent arrest of Premium Times publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi and a judiciary correspondent of the paper, Evelyn Okakwu by the police.

In a statement by the NGE President, Ms. Funke Egbemode, and the General Secretary, Mrs. Victoria Ibanga on Sunday, the guild said the action of the police was “unwarranted assault on the freedom of the press and undue interference”.

“Media practice is guided by rules, regulations and laws. There are options for any aggrieved person to seek redress if a media professional offends and libels him or her.

“Arrest and detention never end well. They only lead to strained relationship,’’ the NGE said.

The NGE noted with concern “the growing clampdown, intimidation and frequent harassment of journalists by the police and other law enforcement agencies in the course of doing their lawful duties”.

“It is important to let overzealous security agencies know that harassment of media professionals is inappropriate and capable of creating tension in an already tensed nation.

“It is an unkind reminder of the dark days of military rule, which witnessed concerted efforts to gag the press through unlawful detention of journalists without trial.

“Wielding the big stick and raiding newsrooms at will in a democratic setting are conducts of poor judgment and sad ways of reminding Nigerians of those days they will rather forget,’’ the statement said.

The NGE stressed the need for a peaceful relationship between the media and security agencies.

Recall that Premium Times publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi and Evelyn Okakwu had been arrested by the police due to a criminal complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, alleging that Premium Times defamed the Nigerian Army.

They were later released without any charges against them.

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