Freedom House Concerned by Niger Journalist Detentions

Freedom House condemns the Niger government’s detention in January 2014 of four journalists, and calls for the immediate release of those who remain in detention without charge. These unlawful detainments impede the ability of journalists to speak freely, and demonstrate a clear violation of freedom of the press and freedom of expression, guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The government of Niger detained the journalists for allegedly broadcasting false accusations and “appeals to hatred and violence.” The journalists had criticized President Mahamadou Issoufou and the ruling party earlier in January.

Ousmane Dan Badji, editor of the newspaper l’Union, and Zakari Amadou, a talk show host, were arrested on January 27 and remain in custody without charge. Two journalists arrested a week earlier, Soumana Idrissa Maiga, editor of the l’Enquêteur; and Abdoulaye Mamane, a presenter on a local talk show, were released without charge following their arrests.

President Issoufou has pledged to support freedom of the press, and was the first head of state to sign the Declaration of Table Mountain in 2011, which encourages governments to repeal criminal defamation laws and to remove limits on an open press environment. The Nigerien government and its authorities should uphold these national and international obligations, and reject backsliding on the progress made in recent years for freedom of the press.

Learn more:
Freedom in the World 2013: Niger
Freedom of the Press 2013: Niger
Blog: Freedom at Issue