16 July 1996


Radio Anfani remains closed, journalist detained for several hours; Radio R&M shut down for two hours; intimidation of foreign correspondents

**New cases, plus further details to IFEX alert
dated 15 July 1996**

RSF is concerned at the situation facing journalists following 7
and 8 July 1996 presidential elections in which General Ibrahim
Barre Mainassara claimed an outright victory.
On 7 July, police occupied and closed Radio Anfani (see IFEX
alert) and detained editorial staff member Souleymane Issa Maiga
for several hours. As of 15 July, the radio was still shut down,
and its offices guarded by police. The closure followed the 7 July
broadcast of an interview with an opposition presidential
candidate. No official warrant was presented, but, according to
RSF, the measure was likely ordered by Interior Minister Idi Ango
Radio R&M was also shut down for two hours. It was only allowed to
continue broadcasting after signing a document agreeing to
"conduct itself" appropriately.
In a separate incident, on 8 July, Moussa Kaka and Laurent
Chaffard, correspondent and special correspondent respectively for
Radio France Internationale (RFI), were arrested in front of the
home of another opposition candidate. They were let go after 45
minutes. The same day, AITV special correspondent Gabrielle Lorne
and her cameraman were reportedly stopped and held for questioning
for over two hours. On 10 July, police officers reportedly
confiscated Chaffard's radio equipment, which the journalist was
only able to reclaim after a heated altercation with security
forces. On 13 July, Kaka was again detained and held for twenty
four hours. Authorities arrested him in Birni Konni, allegedly
thinking the journalist was heading to Zinder, access to which is
being denied to journalists.
As well, Maitourare Abdou Saleye, director general of Niger's
radio and television broadcasting agency (the Office de
Radiodiffusion et Television du Niger), ordered that opposition
parties, unions and associations no longer have access to the
national (state) radio and television network.
Finally, on 13 July on national radio, Interior Minister Idi Ango
Omar strongly criticized RFI and British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC) correspondents, calling them "stateless people"
("apatrides"). He gave what he called a "last national warning" to
foreign correspondents in Niger.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • expressing grave concern at these incidents, and denouncing
    threats against the foreign press in Niger
  • reminding them that Niger has ratified the International Covenant
    on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of which guarantees the
    right to inform and be informed
  • therefore urging that they do everything in their power to allow
    Radio Anfani to reopen immediately, and to bring about a return to
    proper working conditions for all journalists exercising their
    profession in Niger

    Appeals To

    General Ibrahim Barre Mainassara
    Niamey, Niger
    Fax: +227 72 2245/+227 72 2472
    or via the Ministry of Communications: 227 72 2336

    your diplomatic representative in Niger

    the Niger diplomatic representative in your country

    (in Canada)
    Embassy of the Republic of Niger
    38 Blackburn Ave.
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1N 8A2 Canada
    Fax: +1 613 230-9808

    Please copy appeals to the originator if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris
    rsf (@) rsf.org
    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
    More from Niger
    • Freedom of the Press 2016: Niger

      During a spate of protests and communal violence in January, the authorities physically assaulted several journalists in the field, raided media offices, and briefly shut down internet and mobile text-messaging services.

    • Freedom of the Press 2015: Niger

      Ranked 107th in annual global media freedom report

    • World Press Freedom Index 2014: Niger

      Ranked 48th in annual press freedom index