Index 2024
112/ 180
Score : 51.03
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
123/ 180
Score : 49.56
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Nigeria is one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries for journalists, who are regularly monitored, attacked and arbitrarily arrested, as was the case during the 2023 elections.

Media landscape

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria has a rich and diverse media landscape. The print media have been in sharp decline in recent years but there are still around 100 publications, of which The PunchThe NationVanguardGuardian and The Premium Times are the most well-known. The majority of the 36 states also have a state-owned daily newspaper that is directly controlled by local authorities. There are several hundred radio stations and TV channels alongside international media. The great popularity of social media has helped to diversify the media landscape but has also contributed to disinformation.

Political context

The level of governmental interference in the news media is significant. It can involve pressure, harassment of journalists and media outlets, and even censorship. This interference is even stronger during electoral campaigns. Addressing political issues in a balanced way can also be difficult depending on the media outlet’s owner. To a large extent, government officials have a say in the appointment and dismissal of media officials, whether in the public or private sector. The authorities also make arbitrary decisions, such as the destruction in September 2023 of two private media transmitters in the southeast of the country. In May 2023, a federal high court suspended a decision of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the broadcasting regulator, to suspend around 50 radio stations for failing to pay their licence fees. 

Legal framework

The constitution protects freedom of expression and opinion, but there are many laws whose provisions make it possible to obstruct the work of journalists, such as the laws on cybercrime, anti-terrorism and state secrets, and the penal code continues to treat defamation as a crime. Access to information remains very difficult.

Economic context

While there are many media outlets, very few are in good economic health. Significant salary delays make journalists vulnerable to corruption and cash for coverage. Like politicians, businesspeople and companies that provide advertising revenue can have an influence on editorial content. 

Sociocultural context

Covering stories involving politics, terrorism, financial embezzlement by the powerful or conflicts between communities is very difficult, as demonstrated in 2020, when an investigative reporter was threatened and several of his sources were killed or died in suspicious circumstances after the reporter investigated massacres committed in Kaduna State. Media outlets have been the targets of attacks based on religious, gender, or ethnicity.


In recent years, most of West Africa’s violent attacks, arbitrary detentions, and shooting deaths of journalists have taken place in Nigeria, especially during the country’s electoral periods. Nearly 20 journalists and media outlets were attacked during the general elections in February and March 2023. Crimes committed against journalists continue to go unpunished, even when the perpetrators are known or apprehended. There is almost no state mechanism for protection. In fact, the authorities keep journalists under close surveillance and do not hesitate to threaten them.