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Niger: Reporters Without Borders Seeks Journalist’s Release

(Nov. 2, 2007) Moussa Kaka, director of the private Radio Saraounia and a correspondent in Niger of Radio France Internationale (RFI) and of the international, nonprofit, journalist rights organization Reporters Without Borders, was arrested on September 20, 2007, and is being held in detention. Kaka may be charged with breaching national security and his arrest linked to that of a French producer, detained in Niger for several weeks, who is accused of having been in contact with the Tuareg rebels – specifically, with the armed Movement of Niger Citizens for Justice (MNJ). In the view of Reporters Without Borders, "[t]he arrest of our correspondent marks a stiffening of the Niger authorities, who are put under pressure by the issue of the Tuareg rebellion. President Mamadou Tandja must understand that this stiffening only will lead to an increased worsening of the situation." (Niger: Reporters Without Borders Demands Release of Arrested Radio Journalist, ALWIHDA, Sept. 21, 2007, Open Source Center No. AFP20070921683001.) According to the U.S. Department of State's COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES – 2006, the Constitution of Niger "prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the law prohibits detention without charge in excess of 48 hours; however, police at times violated these provisions." (Niger, COUNTRY REPORTS ON HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES – 2006 (Mar. 6, 2007), available at

Radio Saraounia has reported on the MNJ's "deadly attacks" against army bases in northern Niger and has given air time to MNJ leader Agali Alambo. In mid-July 2007, in connection with Kaka's reporting on the rebellion in the north, General Moumouni Boureima, Chief of Staff of Niger's armed forces, had publicly threatened to kill the journalist. In addition, RFI had its programs suspended for a month by the country's media regulator, the Highest Council of Communication, on grounds of "broadcasting false information" related to MNJ activities. (Niger: Reporters Without Borders Demands Release of Arrested Radio Journalist, supra.)