Afrikas Presse: im Einsatz verschollen

In einem großen Teil Afrikas gehen die an Journalisten, Herausgeber und Leser gestellte Herausforderung über die Freiheit der Presse hinaus. Es geht um ihr Überlegen. Während der verschiedenen Diktaturen Nigerias etwa durchliefen viele Journalisten Initiationsriten, die die meisten gern vergessen würden: routinemäßige Schikane, Verprügelungen, Folter, Verhaftungen und Verurteilungen unter falschen Anschuldigungen und unverhältnismäßig lange Haftstrafen.

Der möglicherweise groteskeste Fall unter den zahlreichen Opfern war der eines jungen Journalisten namens Bagauda Kaltho. Seine Leiche wurde in einer Hoteltoilette in der Stadt Kaduna gefunden, zusammen mit den Überresten einer Paketbombe, deren Explosion niemand gehört hatte. Da aber lag er, und neben ihm ein Exemplar meines Buches Der Mann ist tot.

Die nahe liegende Folgerung – vom Regime gefördert – war, dass Kaltho von mir für eine Terrorkampagne, deren Ziel die Diktatur Sanni Abachas war, rekrutiert worden war und sich bei der Anfertigung seiner nächsten Bombe selbst in die Luft gesprengt hatte. Dieses skrupellose Lügenmärchen kam erst nach Abachas Tod und der darauf folgenden Geständnisflut der Polizeiagenten, die das Verbrechen tatsächlich begangen hatten, vollständig ans Licht.

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