Several media organisations in Niger have experienced abuses by the police over the past week.
MFWA’s correspondent in Niger reported that a contingent of the investigative police attacked the Ténéré media group on January 17, 2015. The police entered the premises of the media house without a permit or prior notice and asked Ténéré to suspend transmission. They intimidated and physically attacked journalists. The policemen eventually closed down the radio station for about 15 minutes.
On the same day, two journalists from another media group, Dounias, fainted after inhaling tear gas fired by policemen to disperse street demonstrations against the cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed that appeared in the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. At the same time, policemen also physically assaulted a team of reporters from Ténéré and another group, Labari.
On January 18, 2015, journalists working for Canal 3, Niger24, Liptako, Africable, Radio R&M and Sarraounia were all targeted with tear gas, clubs and insults by contingents from the police and National Guard.
In addition, around 11 am that same day, about ten policemen launched an attack on the Bonferey press group. The policemen hit the workers with clubs and fired tear gas resulting in injuries.
The MFWA is concerned about the numerous attacks on the media and demonstrators in Niger. We urge the police in the country to recognise the important role the media plays in democracy and development and respect their human rights to freedom of expression and to freedom of assembly. We also urge President Mahamadou Issoufou to live up to his statements in Paris following the Charlie Hebdo attacks by ensuring that policemen who attack journalists are punished.