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CPJ 'Alarmed' by Niger Government Censorship of Hunger Issue

The Committee to Protect Journalists says it is alarmed by Niger's attempt to censor coverage of hunger and malnutrition in parts of the West African nation.

In a statement from New York, the media rights group was reacting to the Niger government's move revoking permission for a local BBC team to report on hunger issues.

The CPJ said the government was putting its desire to protect its image ahead of the desperate needs of its own citizens. It called on the government to allow full coverage of the humanitarian needs of the local population.

On Wednesday, a Niger government spokesman, Ben Omar, told VOA Hausa service that journalists were giving incorrect impressions about the country's food situation.

Aid agencies say that some three million people suffered from severe food shortages in Niger in 2005.