Independent publication banned

June 28, 2006
Posted: July 10, 2006


Zakari Anzouma, L’Opinion and Opinions

The High Council on Communications (known as the CSC), a government-controlled media regulatory body, banned the independent weekly L’Opinion indefinitely, accusing it of insulting the president and inciting “rebellion,” according to international news reports and Abdourahamane Ousmane, president of the local organization Union of Journalists for Human Rights.

The accusations stemmed from an article published in mid-June that compared President Mamadou Tandja’s administration unfavorably with that of former military leader Seyni Kountché, who ruled Niger from 1974 to 1987, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. The article referred to Kountché as a “great leader and patriot,” as opposed to Tandja and Prime Minister Hama Amadou, “who claim to be his heirs,” according to AFP.

On July 3, Anzouma, publication director of L’Opinion, launched a new weekly called Opinions. The following day, he was summoned and briefly detained by police who said that he had not provided all the necessary documents to create a new publication. He was released without charge after showing that he had obtained all that was required, local sources told CPJ.