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29 October 2014
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13.03.03

WORLD SERVICE


Talkabout Africa exclusive: Isioma Daniel has no regrets


Journalist Isioma Daniel, who is at the centre of a fatwa in Nigeria, told BBC World Service in an exclusive interview broadcast on Wednesday 12 March, that she did not regret her actions and blamed the government for the carnage which followed her controversial article.


Speaking on the BBC African Service's Talkabout Africa programme, she said she feels "let down" by her former newspaper and unfairly blamed for the crisis.


Presenter Osasu Obayiwana interviewed Isioma Daniel at a secret location. She spoke about the events leading up to her article, which is blamed for over 220 deaths following clashes between Muslims and Christians in the city of Kaduna. Isioma says she thought her article was a tongue-in-cheek piece about fashion.


The interview covered various aspects of the story:


Blasphemy


"The particular sentence I added in as a last minute thing actually. I thought it was funny, light hearted and I didn't see it as anything anybody should take seriously or cause much fuss.


"When I'd written the piece, the whole tone turned out to be breezy and sarcastic, light hearted, kind of tongue-in-cheek humour, I wasn't completely sure if the tone was right. Not for a Nigerian audience but for my editor because he had briefed me on what he wanted and I was more worried about whether I had been able to produce the goods."


Her newspaper's reaction


"What disappointed me was they seemed to be doing their best to dismiss all the previous work I had done for the newspaper. (They were) saying things that I was on the style desk and basically trying to paint a picture that I was a frivolous and young journalist unable to handle serious and intelligent issues, she had been writing about handbags and shoes, obvious issues without knowing what she was doing. They had to do what they did, I suppose to save the newspaper."


The protest clashes


"Any sensible person would realise that no matter how offended you are, you completely lose your right to protest and your right to disagree by being violent, by killing people because that is the greatest wrong you can do.


"We should have taken a stand, we should have said, Nigeria is a civilised society and what these people were doing was wrong, completely unjustified. That would have been a stronger legacy for the newspaper if we had been brave enough to do that."


Notes to Editors


BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages and is available on radio and online at www.bbcworldservice.com.


It has a global audience of 150 million listeners while its websites receive 100 million page impressions each month.


BBC World Service broadcasts more than 25 hours of programmes a week specifically for Africa.


Network Africa sets the day's agenda with a popular mix of news, sport, features and music, while Focus on Africa is a daily round-up of news and analysis from around the continent.


Talkabout Africa is Africa's debating shop, while Africa Live provides the interactive format for the continent to connect.


All the BBC's digital services are now available on Freeview, the new free-to-view digital terrestrial television service, as well as on satellite and cable.

Freeview offers the BBC's eight television channels, interactive services from BBCi, as well as 11 BBC radio networks.


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