Niger, Freedom of the Press, only an illusion!
By, Uwe Paschen.
Well, as I opened the news channel this morning I fund out that Niger's Higher court had given another independent Journalist a suspended sentence this time and not the usual prison terms of 3 to 5 years. However with a hefty fine of 100,000.00 CFAF, wish is a lot for some one living in Niger even though it may seem little to a Westerner, at about a $1,000.00 US. Keeping in mind that most people in Niger make about 200.00 CFAF a day doing hard labour.
Alzouma Zakari, the Editor of Niger's independent Weekly, Opinions was sued by government Interior Minister for having involved him in the alleged disqualification of Sahel Airlines, that transports Pilgrims to Mecca. The Government in Niger even though said to be democratic and open is certainly not open minded nor ready to take any criticism from any news paper, many journalist have been in prison since 1995 and many more have fled the country to bordering Mali or Cameroon in order to escape a prison sentence. The Opinions published a minor critic of Government handling of the Sahel Airlines, yet even though minor, it broth the Paper into major trouble. Freedom of the press in Democratic Niger is further from the reality with each passing day and Democracy is only existing for the ruling Clan of the south and there Families yet not for the country and it people.
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