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Minister threatens to ban all media professional groups

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 4 September 2008, Mohamed Ben Omar, Niger's minister of communication threatened to dissolve all media professional groups in the country.

According to MFWA's correspondent in Niger, the minister, who was responding to a question in an interview on state television about the recent closure of the Dounia Media Group (DMG), said: "I am going to write to the interior minister to request him to dissolve all the media socio-professional associations and the Press Centre".

On 19 August, Niger's media regulatory body, the Higher Council for Communication (CSC), closed Dounia, the Niamey-based radio and TV broadcaster, for one month without any valid reasons.

The correspondent said the minister's threat came after several fruitless efforts to force journalists to amend the Press Centre's by-laws to include representatives from the government and the media regulatory body.

On 30 June, the communication ministry closed the Press Centre after the ministry accused it of being critical of the government. Earlier the authorities had threatened to shut down independent publications whose editors did not have a press card.

At a press conference by the Press Centre to react to the minister's threats, Ousmane Abdurahmane, president of the board of the Centre, described the minister's attempt as interference in the media's operations. He called on the ministry to stick to its core function of ensuring the necessary assistance for the media to operate without fear or favour.

For further information on the Dounia case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/96411

For further information on the closure of the Press House, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/95129

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