Electoral campaign posters are displayed at a bus stop in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 31, 2023. CPJ recently joined a call for authorities to maintain internet access during the elections. (Reuters/Temilade Adelaja)

CPJ joins call for Nigeria to maintain internet, social media access during 2023 elections

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined an open letter by the KeepItOn coalition of press freedom and human rights groups on February 16, 2023, calling on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and other officials to “ensure that the internet, social media platforms, and all other communication channels remain free, open, secure, inclusive, and accessible” during the upcoming election period.

Elections for president and federal lawmakers are scheduled for February 25, and elections for state governments are scheduled for March 11.

“Shutdowns make it extremely difficult for journalists and the media to carry out their work thereby denying people both inside and outside of the country access to credible information,” the letter said. Journalists also recently told CPJ that, among other safety concerns related to election coverage, they worried about possible internet disruptions.

Nigeria previously blocked access to Twitter for over six months between 2021 and 2022, which the ECOWAS court declared “unlawful” and not to be repeated.

The open letter is available here.