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Newspaper suspended, three others warned over coverage of rebel group's activities

(MFWA/IFEX) - "Air Info", a bi-weekly privately-owned newspaper in Agadez, about 1,000 km from the capital Niamey, was suspended on 29 June 2007 by the media regulatory body (Conseil Supérieur de la Communication, CSC) for covering the activities of a rebel group in the northern part of Niger.

The CSC has also frozen the newspaper's annual subsidy provided by the government to the media under Niger's media law.

A Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that in its edition No. 64 of 14 to 20 June, the newspaper published an article and photographs of the fighters of the Niger Movement for Justice (Movement des Nigériens pour la Justice, MNJ), an armed movement operating in the country's northern region since March 2007.

On 3 May, the CSC issued a notice to "Air Info" warning it against "praising the armed rebellion".

On 2 July, the CSC sent a warning to three weeklies, namely "L'Evénement", "Libération" and "Opinion", accusing them of not only publishing photographs of the MNJ's fighters, but also producing what they described as "real propaganda on behalf of people who have taken up arms against their compatriots".

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