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Judicial CP - November 2000

Panafrican News Agency, Senegal, 20 November 2000

RSF Expresses Concern Over Journalists' Plight in Nigeria

The secretary general of Reporters Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders - RSF), Robert Menard, Monday expressed concern at reports that the northern Nigerian state of Kano intends to introduce corporal punishment as a penalty for journalists who publish "offensive articles."

In a letter addressed to the governor of Kano state, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, it said "this draft law, which is to be passed before 26 November 2000, violates the Nigerian constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights to which Nigeria is a State Party."

Medard urged Musa not to put this draft law on the agenda of the local assembly and to protect press freedom in Kano state, as well as the physical integrity of journalists working in Kano.

RSF said in a news release that it had gathered information that the government of the state of Kano planned to pass a law that would punish journalists with 60 strokes of the cane if they published information considered as "offensive" under the Islamic sharia law.

Kano is expected to begin implementing the tough Islamic law 26 November, the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting period.

Several states in northern Nigeria introduced sharia in their legislation this year, creating a fierce media debate in Nigeria.

Copyright � 2000 Panafrican News Agency.

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