Saturday, August 22, 2009

Media Watchdog Slams Jailing of Niger Editor

LAGOS 20 August 2009 Sapa-AFP


A prominent media rights watchdog has slammed the jailing of the
editor of a satirical weekly in Niger for questioning a government
decision to issue an arrest warrant against a former prime

"The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a prison sentence
given on Tuesday," to Abdoulaye Tiemogo of Le Canard Dechaine, the New York-based body said in a statement, calling for his release.

"The journalist was convicted of 'casting discredit on a
judicial ruling' in connection with a television interview," it
said late Wednesday.

"Tiemogo discussed Le Canard Dechaine's coverage of the
government's decision to issue an international arrest warrant for
exiled former prime minister Hama Amadou on corruption charges.

"Hamadou had denied the allegations and dismissed the arrest
warrant as harassment," the statement said.

The move was "part of an unrelenting crackdown on journalists
investigating corruption and criticizing the policies of the
government of President Mamadou Tandja," said CPJ Africa Program
Director Tom Rhodes.

"We call on the appeals court to reverse this ruling. Tiemogo
should be released immediately," he added.

Tiemogo had fled the country last August following a complaint
lodged by President Mamadou Tandja over an article suggesting he
planned to impose his son to succeed him should he fail in his bid
to revise the constitution.

The controversial referendum earlier this month cleared the way
for Tandja, in power since 1999, to run in subsequent elections,
potentially allowing him to hold on to power for life.

On his return to Niger in May, Tiemogo was charged with
"spreading false information" although that case was subsequently

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