Niger’s media regulatory body, the Higher Council on Communication (CSC) has revoked the broadcast licenses of fifteen privately-owned radio stations in the country for “non-compliance with current regulatory requirements.”
The affected stations are: Radio Communautaire in Kornake-Dakoro; Radio Alternative FM in Niamey; Radio Faham FM in Niamey; Radio Communautaire in Mrriah; Radio Horizon FM in Kollo; Radio Horizon FM in Téra; Radio Horizon FM in Tillabéry; Radio Horizon FM in Dosso; Radio Sahara FM in Agadez; RadioSahara FM in Arlit; Radio Bitinkodji FM in Niamey; Radio Sarraounia FM in Madaoua; Radio Madiana FM in Dirkou; Radio Sarraounia FM in Tahoua; and Radio Markassiney in Lossa-Tillabéry.
According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources in Niger, the CSC, in a decision dated September 25, 2003, ordered the stations to suspend broadcasting with immediate effect. However, media professional associations in the country issued a statement on September 28, asking the stations concerned to disregard the order and continue operating.
The broadcast licenses, which the current CSC leadership purports to be “null, void and of no effect”, were granted by previous commission members.
The CSC has been going through a crisis lately, leading to the suspension on September 12, of the chairperson, Madam Mariama Keita, by other members of the commission. The decision to withdraw the license of the affected radio stations was, in fact, signed by the interim chairperson of the CSC, Cissé Ibrahim.
The MFWA condemns the clampdown on the 15 radio stations because it undermines democracy, restricts popular participation and denies freedom of expression to ordinary citizens in the country.