The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the President of the Republic of Niger to intervene to put an end to the repression on the media after the recent arrest of Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, the editor of a private newspaper accused of “working with Radio France Internationale” and the detention of journalist Moussa Kaka on charges of endangering the safety of the state for suspected links with Tuareg rebels. He faces life imprisonment.
“The press has become a scapegoat of the government since the beginning of the Tuareg conflict and the recent events worry us,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “We call on President Mamadou Tandja to intervene urgently to put an end to this repression on the media and the journalists and for the release of our colleagues.”
Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, Editor of the private newspaper Aïr-Info was arrested by the police Wednesday night at Niamey airport on his way to a training course in France. He is being detained at the Niamey Criminal Investigation Department. According to local journalists', Diallo is accused of “working with Radio France Internationale” and he had not yet been officially charged.
In June the state media regulatory body Conseil Supérieur de la Communication (CSC) suspended Aïr-Info for three months accusing it of inciting “hatred and violence” in the Tuareg conflict in the North of the country where the paper is based. Three other newspapers received warning letters from the CSC for their coverage of the conflict. The CSC also suspended RFI's FM broadcasts in July for allegedly biased reports about the rebellion.
On 12 July, Ibrahim Manzo Diallo was briefly arrested by the police after he launched a new newspaper called Info-Aïr as Aïr-Info was suspended.
The IFJ also reiterates its call on the government for the release of Moussa Kaka and to withdraw all the “baseless” charges against him. Kaka, correspondent of RFI and director of the private Saraouniya radio station was arrested on September 22 and is held on charges of endangering the safety of the state for suspected links with Tuareg rebels. He risks life imprisonment if found guilty.
For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 33 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide