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Dounia TV director and editor arrested and detained for "broadcasting false information"

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 1 April 2009, managing director Abibou Garba and editor-in-chief Seyni Amadou, of the privately-owned Dounia Media Group, operators of Dounia TV and radio stations in Niamey, were arrested and detained at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) for allegedly "broadcasting false information".

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent reported that the arrest and subsequent detention of the two followed a comment that Elhaj Idi Abdou, a member of Niger civil society, made on Dounia TV about the visit of French President Nicholas Sarkozy to the country.

According to MFWA's correspondent, on 27 March, Elhaj Idi appeared on a popular television programme, alleging that President Sarkozy was not in Niger on an official visit but rather, to attend to his private business concerns. He presumably made this comment because among the French President's delegation to the country was a business tycoon, Anne Lauvergean, who is also the Chairperson of the Areva Board of Directors.

The two journalists were picked up at about 10:00 a.m. (local time) and were still detained as of 3 April.

Earlier on 31 March, personnel of the CID also arrested Elhaj Idi and charged him with the same offence as the journalists.

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