The Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday it had called on Nigerian authorities to ensure that international journalists are allowed access to cover the country's elections this month.
"Nigeria's presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 14, while state elections are set for February 28. President Goodluck Jonathan is seeking re-election amid an insurgency by the radical Islamist group Boko Haram, which has taken over territory in the country's northeast. International observers have called on Nigeria to ensure a free and fair election, while some analysts have warned of low turnout amid fears of violence, according to news reports," the press freedom group said.
It also reported, "Geoffrey York, Johannesburg-based correspondent for the Canadian daily newspaper Globe and Mail, wrote on Twitter last week that Nigeria had blocked at least 40 journalists from entering the country to cover the elections. The Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa issued a statement on Friday saying many of its members had been denied visas or accreditation.
"Journalists at one international news outlet — who asked that the outlet not be named as it continues to seek access to cover the elections — told CPJ that it had made eight different visa requests from locations including Paris, London, Nairobi, Dakar, and Johannesburg. All of the applications, submitted between December 2014 and January 2015, had been delayed by embassy officials requesting additional paperwork, the outlet said.
"However, some international journalists have been granted access. Journalists from The New York Times, BBC, and the Netherlands-based television channel RTL Nieuws told CPJ they had visas approved.
"Difficulty in getting visas may be compounded by discrepancies in the application process from embassy to embassy and between embassies and the Nigeria Immigration Service. . ."
A delegation of journalists from the U.S,-based National Association of African Journalists arrived in Nigeria last month.
- BBC: Boko Haram crisis: Chad kills 'more than 200' in Nigeria
- Benjami Edokpayi, alldigitocracy.org: Who Reports the African Perspective?
Commemorating Black History Month, Al Jazeera America "will launch #Branding Black, a new month-long, social media campaign that raises important questions about the line between multicultural marketing and the commercialization of 'blackness,'" the network announced.
”Does #BrandingBlack celebrate diversity or perpetuate stereotypes? Throughout February, Al Jazeera America will deepen the conversation around these issues by creating a transmedia experience, delivering meaningful and culturally relevant videos, analysis and opinions across broadcast and social media. #BrandingBlack will take the conversation 'to the people' by engaging social media influencers to cultivate a provocative and in-depth discussion using the #BrandingBlack hashtag."
One vehicle is to be "Real Money with Ali Velshi," which airs Fridays at 10:30 p.m. ET, repeating at 1 a.m. ET.
For this coming Friday, a synopsis reads, "Nike just released its 2015 'Black History Month' edition of Nikes. The Vice President of Nike, Michael Jackson, said the collection 'honors and celebrates athletes and leaders who have influenced global culture and paved the way for the next generation.' The shoes honor various famous black athletes.
"It's a marketing ploy that enrages civil rights activist Van Jones. He believes the single greatest disservice we can do for African Americans — especially low income kids — is keep the dream alive for millions of kids hoping to get an NBA job when there are only 15 slots — vs millions of jobs available if kids were taught STEM (STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.) What message are corporations sending to black youth in America with 'Black History Month' branding, and is it the right message? . . ."
- Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times: Black history should not be forgotten