The International Federation of Journalists today joined its French affiliate the Syndicat National des Journalistes in a forceful denunciation of the detention of two French journalists in Niger who face the death penalty on charges of having contact with “armed and illegal groups”.
The two French journalists, Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson working for the television network Arte, are accused of meeting with the Niger Justice Movement (MNJ), led by Tuareg nomadic tribesmen, which says its members are fighting for more autonomy from the black African-led government in the south and for a greater share of their region's mineral wealth.
“These journalists were doing their job,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “They are the victims of an intolerant and repressive action by a government which appears to have no respect for press freedom at all.”
The IFJ is calling for the journalists to be freed along with two other local journalists, Moussa Kaka, correspondent for France’s Radio France International, and Ibrahim Manzo Diallo director of Air-Info who have been detained for weeks on suspicion of aiding the rebels.
"Journalists who report on the political and social reality of society should never be victimised," said White. "Their actions in any free society would deserve praise not punishment."
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The IFJ is the world's largest journalists' group with more than 600,000 members in 120 countries.