Coalition for Whistle-blower Protection and Press Freedom Condemns Remand of Agba Jalingo in Prison Custody

The Coalition for Whistle-blower Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) condemns the remand of journalist Agba Jalingo in prison custody over an alleged false publication. Jalingo, the publisher of CrossRiverWatch, was charged under the Cybercrime Act 2015 of Nigeria for allegedly publishing an article that was deemed ‘insulting’ to Mrs Elizabeth Ayade, the Sister-in-law of Cross River Governor Ben Ayade.

Jalingo’s arrest is a blatant attack on press freedom and a clear violation of the fundamental human right to freedom of expression. The CWPPF believes journalists should be free to report on issues of public interest without fear of reprisal or intimidation. The remand of Agba Jalingo in prison custody is a dangerous precedent that sets a chilling effect on freedom of expression in Nigeria and raises serious concerns about the government’s commitment to it. 

The Cybercrime Act, which criminalises internet use for various purposes, including fraud, child pornography and cyberstalking, has been misused to silence journalists and dissenting voices. This constitutes a threat to press freedom.

The CWPPF calls for a review of the Cybercrime Act, as it has become a tool for the suppression of free speech and press freedom.

It is essential to note that the arrest of Agba Jalingo is not an isolated incident. Nigeria has a long history of harassing and arresting journalists who report on government corruption, human rights abuses, and other issues of public interest. The CWPPF condemns these actions and calls for the immediate release of Agba Jalingo.

The CWPPF calls on the Nigerian government to respect press freedom and take measures to ensure that journalists are free to report on issues of public interest without fear of intimidation or harassment.

We urge the Nigerian government to respect journalists’ rights and ensure that the Cybercrime Act is not used to suppress freedom of expression. Journalists must be able to carry out their work without fear of arrest, harassment or intimidation.

CWPPF Secretariat 

The CWPPF is a group of media and civil society organizations committed to upholding democracy and good governance by protecting the ethos of whistleblowing, freedom of expression and press freedom.

CWPPF members

Premium Times

The Cable 

Daily Trust Newspaper

International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)

Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)

Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)

African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)

Civic Media Lab

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)

International Press Centre (IPC)

International Press Institute (IPI)

Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Paradigm Initiative

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

HEDA Resources Centre.

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