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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Niger: The conviction of CENOZO’s President Moussa Aksar is an attack on press freedom

On 3rd January 2022, investigative journalist and editor “L’Evènement” Moussa Aksar was convicted to two months imprisonment and fined 200,000 CFA francs (approximately 305 euros) for publishing on the website of his newspaper, an article by experts of Global Initiative – a Non-Governmental Organisation fighting against transnational crime – on drug trafficking in the West African country.

“This conviction of the President of the Board of the Cell Norbert Zongo for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO), is a serious and damaging attack on press freedom in Niger and adds to an attempt to stifle press freedom in Niger.” a press statement from CENOZO has said.

A 2020 Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders revealed the Government of Niger sometimes tried Criminal Code or the new Cyber-Crime Law which they termed “very controversial.”

“Journalists are sometimes tried and imprisoned under the criminal code or the new, very controversial cyber-crime law, instead of being tried under the media law, which abolished prison sentences for media offences. The prosecution of the newspaper L’Événement’s publisher in 2020 and the arrest of the Courrier’s publisher for a story about overbilling for defence ministry contracts highlighted the threats to investigative reporting and the progress that is needed for journalists to be able to do their job to help combat corruption,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Niger placed 59 in 2020, dropping two places in the Press Freedom Index by RsF.

ZAMI Reports joins hands in calling for the unconditional squashing of the sentence and fine.

Find Below the full press release.

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