In what is perceived as a continuation of government’s hostility against the most critical media organisations, the Mauritanian authorities refused to give accreditation to the country’s leading private media houses to cover the African Union (AU) Summit hosted by the country on July 1-2, 2018.
The denial of access to the summit venue affected the six critical private newspapers; Quotidien de Nouakchott, Mauriweb, l’Eveil Hebdo, l’Authentique, Calame and Cridem.
Mauritania’s media environment has been in crisis for some time now with all newspapers grounded as a result of a strike by workers of the state printing press which prints all newspapers in the country. All but one of the country’s independent radio stations is operating and only two of the five private television networks are on air as a result of sanctions by the audiovisual regulators for non-payment of license fees.
The recent incident is therefore worrying.
“Another freedom of expression violation, given that l’Eveil Hebdo is the oldest private newspaper and Le Quotidien de Nouakchott isthe only regular daily in the country”, Ahmed Cheikh Calame, the managing editor of the online newspaper Le Calame posted on his Facebook page.
The MFWA is concerned at the crisis afflicting the media in Mauritania and urges President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz to personally step in and ensure that the issues confronting the country’s media are addressed as the country is gearing up for parliamentary and local elections in two months’ time.