Nigerian bloggers fight for free speech

Online citizen journalism has become the new frontier for activists to get the word out about government corruption, much to the dismay of some politicians. Nigerian-American blogger Jonathan Elendu was taken into custody upon arrival last week in the Nigerian capital of Abuja by the secret service. Elendu, a public relations executive and journalist based in Michigan, is the founder of Elendu Reports, a news blog known for publishing controversial material about Nigerian politicians and information about the economic woes in the Niger Delta. Some Nigerian bloggers believe Elendu was arrested for running a “guerilla news agency,” and are now speaking out on his behalf.

According to the blog, Nigerian Musings, “Elendu has been held by Nigeria’s internal security agency, the SSS, for 5 days. He has had no contact with his family and is now being accused of money laundering and other trumped up offenses.” It is also believe that Elendu is on a hunger strike and his health is grave. This blog is also encouraging other bloggers who are concerned about his safety to blog about his plight and his timely release this Friday.

According to Black Looks, “The arrest of Jonathan Elendu is one in a long line of attacks against freedom of the press in Nigeria (arrests, harassments and murder of anyone critical of the government) and one which is particularly characteristic of military dictatorships the remnants of which continue to remain active in the country.”

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