Several private radio and television stations in Niger have been closed down by the authorities for non-payment of taxes despite the protests by the broadcasting stations earlier this year.
RSF regards Baba Alpha’s expulsion to neighbouring Mali after serving a one-year jail sentence as “a second sentence.”
It has been six months since Baba Alpha, senior journalist with Bonferey TV in Niger, was arrested and detained before being later sentenced to two years in prison and temporarily stripped of his citizenship.
A High Court in Niger on September 11, 2017 granted provisional release to Ali Soumana, director of publication of a private weekly newspaper, Le Courrier, after more than two months in detention.
Ali Soumana, publisher of the weekly “Le Courrier”, has been held for publishing the public prosecutor’s summing-up in a five-year-old legal dispute between Niger and a Lebanese company called Africard.
On the evidence of the persecution of civil society activists in the last one month alone, it can be said that not much has been done during the first few months of President Mahamadou Issoufou’s term to promote freedom of expression rights in Niger.
On 14 November 2015, police in Niger arrested and detained journalists from two private television stations without charge. The journalists’ cameras, microphones and mobile phones were also seized after their arrest.
During an anti-Charlie Hebdo demonstration on 17 January and during an opposition march the next day, the police stormed the headquarters of four news organizations and physically attacked at least eight journalists.
Authorities in Niger recently arrested four journalists within five days. Niamey Press Club president Boubacar Diallo told Reporters Without Borders that the good image that Niger had acquired internationally in the past three years has been ruined by the government’s actions.
Moussa Aksar, managing editor of the bi-weekly newspaper, L’Evenement, received a threatening note on September 3, 2013 from Lieutenant Aouali Hambali, an officer of the Nigerien army, who has been implicated in an alleged coup attempt.
Four journalists belonging to privately-owned media organisations were physically attacked by police officers who disrupted a peace march organised by members of the Educational Unions’ Permanent Consultation and Action Framework.
The vast majority of African nations continue to jail journalists and close media houses on charges of defamation or for “insulting” authorities or their policies. The practice prevents legitimate public discourse and critical writing and leads to self-censorship.
Zakari Alzouma and Ayouba Karimou were arrested and detained for about six hours on 7 October 2011.
While recognising the shortcomings of the media in the course of discharging their duties, MFWA nonetheless considers the sanction imposed on Modibo Oumarou Aliou as unduly harsh.