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2007

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New York, December 21, 2007—Two French journalists detained since Monday in the capital, Niamey, will now be tried in court, an official announced today.

Journalist Thomas Dandois and cameraman Pierre Creisson of Franco-German TV network Arte Television were arrested south of Niamey after police allegedly discovered footage and photos of rebel Tuareg leaders, government spokesman Ben Omar Mohamed told Agence France-Presse. The journalists, officially in Niger to cover a story about bird flu in the southern city of Maradi, had been “under surveillance since the beginning,” he said. 

Two French journalists released after one month

CASE UPDATE

JANUARY 17, 2008

Original Alert: December 21, 2007
Posted January 18, 2008

Thomas Dandois, Arte Television

Editor and owner imprisoned for defamation
NOVEMBER 29, 2007
Posted February 29, 2008

Ibrahim Souley, L’Enqueteur
Soumana Idrissa Maiga, Director of L’Enqueteur
LEGAL

The editor and managing director of L’Enqueteur were each sentenced to one month in jail and a CFA 40,000 (US$90) fine by a Niamey court on February 5 for defamation charges made by the minister of finance and economy. The prosecutor appealed the same day but the new court date for Editor Ibrahim Souley and Director Soummana Idrissa Maiga has not been set, reported Boubacar Diallo, president of the Niger Association of Independent Press Editors.

New York, October 22, 2007—Hundreds of journalists marched through the streets of the Niger capital, Niamey, on Saturday to protest the arrests of two prominent journalists in connection with a government crackdown on media coverage of a rebellion of nomadic Tuaregs in northern Niger, according to news reports and local journalists.

About 400 marchers carrying signs and chanting “Free Moussa Kaka and Ibrahima Manzo!” walked to the Place de la Concertation in front of Niger’s National Assembly. It was the most important march of journalists since 1990, when the country entered an era of political and media liberalization, according to Abdoulaye Massalatchi, president of one of a dozen local media groups participating in the march.

New York, October 11, 2007—The director of a newspaper based in strife-torn northern Niger was arrested late Tuesday in the capital of Niamey on suspicions of links with France-based Radio France Internationale (RFI)—a station targeted by the government in recent months over its coverage of a deadly rebellion of nomadic Tuaregs, according to local journalists and news reports.

Ibrahima Manzo Diallo, director of the bimonthly Aïr Info, in the northern town of Agadez, was arrested by plainclothes police at Niamey’s airport as he prepared to board a flight to Paris to participate in a professional seminar of French daily Ouest France, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). Diallo remained in police custody today without charge, but was transferred from a Niamey police station to an unknown destination, according to local journalists.

New York, September 24, 2007—A veteran radio journalist for French broadcaster Radio France Internationale, distinguished for his exclusive coverage of a seventh-month-old armed rebellion in northern Niger, was sent to prison today after four days in police custody on accusations of aiding the rebels, according to local journalists.

New York, August 30, 2007—Niger’s state-run High Council on Communications has banned the broadcast of live debates on an armed rebellion of nomadic Tuaregs in the north of the uranium-rich West African nation, according to local journalists. Attacks by Tuareg fighters have killed at least 45 soldiers since February, according to Reuters.

The ruling on Tuesday was linked to the broadcast of a live panel Saturday morning on private station Radio Saraounya FM in the capital, Niamey, the journalists said. The debate contained commentary critical of the government’s handling of the conflict.

 UPDATE  

August 20, 2007Original Alert: July 20, 2007

Radio France Internationale

CENSORED

New York, July 20, 2007--The Niger government suspended broadcasts of France-based Radio France Internationale (RFI) on Thursday, accusing the station of "broadcasting false news" related to a recent armed rebellion of nomadic Tuaregs in northern Niger, according to local journalists and news reports. The move came less than a week after the army chief threatened to kill a veteran RFI correspondent.

New York, July 13, 2007—Coverage critical of the government’s handling of deadly attacks by an armed group of nomadic Tuareg rebels in northern Niger has led authorities in the uranium-rich West African nation to close a private newspaper and warn others to censor their reporting, according to news reports and local journalists.

The bimonthly Aïr Info, the sole newspaper in the central town of Agadez, about 460 miles (740 kilometers) northeast of the capital, Niamey, was suspended on June 29 for three months by Niger's state-run High Council on Communications, according to the same sources. In a fax sent to the paper, the council accused Aïr Info of publishing articles “undermining the morale of troops,” director Ibrahim Manzo Diallo told CPJ. The paper’s annual government subsidy of 1.4 million CFA francs (US$3,000) was also suspended.

2007

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Sue Valentine

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