New York, August 3, 2023—The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned Niger’s suspension of broadcasts by French outlets Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24.
“Authorities in Niger should immediately unblock access to RFI and France 24’s broadcasts and ensure all media in the country can operate freely and without fear of reprisal,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator, from Durban, South Africa, on Thursday. “It is deeply unfortunate that the military in Niger seems to be taking pages from the post-coup playbook written by Mali and Burkina Faso in seeking to deny the public access to news and information at a time it is most needed.”
The blocking of RFI and France 24, which are subsidiaries of the French government-owned France Médias Monde, began Thursday, August 3, according to Mariama Soumana, a journalist based in Niger who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and a report by the privately owned Jeune Afrique news site.
Soumana also shared with CPJ a photo of the France 24 television channel in Niger from Thursday afternoon showing a black screen with the words, “Program blocked” and “The channel does not have the broadcast rights for this program and we have therefore been asked to conceal it.”
France Médias Monde denounced the blocking of its broadcasters, calling it a “suspension” made “outside of any conventional and legal framework.” Content from both outlets remains accessible online, according to the statement and Soumana.
On July 26, soldiers from Niger’s military seized control of the country from democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum. Since then, people in Niger have rallied in opposition to France and attacked its embassy. RFI and France 24 have also been suspended in Burkina Faso and Mali following military coups.