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The Radical Press and Security Agencies in Nigeria: Beyond Hegemonic Polarities

Abstract:
Abstract:

The dominant trend in the literature on civil society in Africa, particularly in the context of undemocratic regimes, assumes that civil society activists (including progressive, radical, or guerrilla journalists) are committed only to counteracting the preeminence of a repressive state. Within such a paradigm, evidence of collaborations between agents of the state and elements within civil society—particularly in the interest of advancing political liberation, democracy, justice, and equity—tend to be understated, if not erased altogether. Based on ethnographic details of secret collaborations between the Nigerian security agencies and radical journalists in the fight against military fascism, this article argues that the commonly assumed division between the state and the media is in fact breached regularly in practice. Such evidence should draw scholarly attention to a largely neglected area of research on state–media relations in Africa: the penetration of the apparatuses of power and repression by their targets and victims.

Résumé:

La tendance dominante dans la littérature existante sur la société civile en Afrique, particulièrement dans le contexte des régimes non démocratiques, suppose que les activistes civils (y compris les journalistes progressistes, radicaux, ou de la guérilla) sont engagés seulement dans la lutte contre l'état et ses actes de répression. Dans un tel paradigme, l'évidence de collaboration entre des agents de l'état et des civils—en particulier pour faire progresser la libération politique, la démocratie, la justice et l'égalité—a tendance à être minimisée, voire passée sous silence. Après examen de rapports détaillés sur des collaborations secrètes entre des membres de la sécurité nigérienne et des journalistes radicaux dans la lutte contre le fascisme militaire, cet article soutient que la division présumée entre l'état et les médias est en fait rompue régulièrement dans la pratique. Une telle évidence devrait attirer l'attention des érudits vers un sujet de recherche largement négligé sur les relations entre l'état et les médias en Afrique: la pénétration des appareils du pouvoir et la répression perpétuée par leurs cibles et victimes.

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