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Niger June 8, 2005
H.E. Hama Mamadou
Office of the Prime Minister
We are writing on behalf of the non-partisan organization, Overseas Press Club of America (OPC), whose more than 600 members have had extensive experience in reporting news from around the world. One of our major activities is to defend freedom of the press world-wide. Our members were deeply shocked to learn of the recent and apparently on-going efforts in Niger to intimidate members of the press and to eliminate voices that criticize the government of Niger .
We are informed that police in the capital shut down the independent radio station, Radio Alternative, shortly after having arrested Moussa Tchangari , who directs the station’s parent company, Alternative, and is also an editor of its weekly newspaper. While your Government did not cite a specific reason for the arrest and closure of the radio station, it appears to be linked to Mr. Tchangari’s activities in protesting the recent tax imposed on basic food stuffs –including water and flour.
Mr. Tchangari and four other prominent citizens, all members of an opposition group called, “Coalition Against Costly Living,” were arrested and sent to jail. Later, the Interior Minister in your Cabinet appeared on state-run television — warning journalists not to cover the activities of the Coalition.
We would like to join Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in strongly protesting this terrorism against working journalists and those who disagree with certain Government policies. Such actions grossly violate Niger ‘s international commitments to honor civil rights and political freedom.
Norman A. Schorr
Freedom of the Press Committee
Tandja Mamadou, Head of State
Office of the Head of State
Fax: (011.227) 73-34-30
Ambassador of Niger to the U.S.A.
Embassy of Niger
2204 R Street, NW
Washington , DC 20008
Fax: (202) 483-3169
Ambassador Ousmane Moutari
Permanent Mission of Niger to the United Nations
417 East 50 th Street
New York , NY 10022
Fax: (212) 753-6931
G. Dennise Mathieu
U.S. Ambassador to Niger
Embassy of the United States of America
Rue Des Ambassades
Fax: (011.227) 73-31-67