Fall in violations, but freedoms far from consolidated
Niger has seen a significant and encouraging fall in press freedom violations in the past two years but there are still many grounds for concern. The government continues to place little state advertising with privately-owned media and makes little attempt to provide a proper public information service. In a regional context marked by the fight against terrorism, visits by journalists to the most dangerous areas are still limited, and it is very hard to access information about terrorism or migration. Both Niger’s authorities and certain international organisations are responsible for the restrictions on the release of information. In recent years, several journalists have been arrested and media outlets have been suspended in an arbitrary manner. 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. A journalist who is well known both for his professionalism and for criticising the authorities was sentenced in July 2017 to two years in prison and the withdrawal of all civil and political rights for ten years. Although a citizen of Niger, he was expelled to Mali upon release in 2018. Ten media outlets were closed for several days or weeks in 2018 for non-payment of taxes, although most of the country’s media struggle to survive economically.
66 in 2019
29.26 in 2019