On March 31, 2015, the Public Prosecutor at the Niamey County Court in Niger questioned Oumarou Aliou Modibo, managing editor of the Canard Déchainé, a private weekly satirical publication.
The MFWA’s correspondent in Niger reported that Modibo was initially arrested the night before, prior to being questioned by the prosecutor. He was finally released after a four-hour hearing.
According to our correspondent, Modibo’s detention and questioning follows a complaint filed by former Minister of Justice Garba Lompo, who accused him of libel.
The said article was published in the March 16 edition of the Canard Déchainé and accused Lompo of illegally acquiring a piece of land.
The acting President of the Press Centre, Baba Alpha, condemned Modibo’s detention and questioning, describing it as a witch hunt the current regime has been pursuing for some months now.
The MFWA joins the Press Centre in Niger in condemning the detention and questioning of Modibo. We wish to remind authorities in Niger that press offences have been decriminalised, so it is unlawful to detain journalists for writing offensive articles. We also wish to remind authorities of the country’s signing of the Declaration of Table Mountain, which calls for the prioritization of press freedom in addition to the repeal of criminal defamation laws.