The government of Niger is being accused of trying to censor media coverage of hunger and malnutrition in parts of the country. The Committee to Project Journalists says it is alarmed by the situation, which began when a BBC television crew lost its accreditation last week. It had reported on hunger in Niger’s Maradi region, which was the focus of malnutrition problems in the country last year.
Julia Crawford is a spokesperson for the Committee to Protect Journalists. From New York, she spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua.
She says, “We find it alarming when governments try to censor coverage of news that is of clear international concern. When the government of Niger puts the desire to protect its image ahead of the critical concerns of its population, it’s shocking. And we’re calling on the government to allow full and unfettered coverage of the needs, the humanitarian needs of its population.”
Asked whether the Niger government has responded to CPJ’s concerns, Wright says, “My understanding is that CPJ staff have made attempts to get government comment, but that we were not able to get a comment. I know that we’ve seen other comments in the news that the government is allowing journalists to come to Niger as long as ‘they tell stories that are true.’ It seems that the government is in denial of what’s going on there and is trying the block the flow of information to help keep the international community aware of what’s happening.”