The Foreign Correspondents Association of Southern Africa appeals to the Nigerian government to issue visas and press accreditation to journalists wanting to cover the elections on Feb. 14. Many of our members in South Africa, representing news media from around the world, have been refused visas and are not able to travel to Nigeria to cover the important elections in Africa's most populous country. Some were told specifically that they were not getting visas because they are journalists. Other journalists with existing visas have not been able to get press accreditation. Free access to the press, both domestic and foreign, is widely acknowledged to be a requirement for free and fair elections. Election monitors will note that many foreign journalists based in Africa and elsewhere have not been granted access to Nigeria. Our members are discussing this problem with our embassies and monitoring bodies.
Even at this late date, it would be beneficial to issue visas and press accreditation to journalists wanting to cover the elections.