Nigerien authorities have detain four journalists in the capital Niamey in the past week, after they criticized the government and allegedly accused President Mahamdou Issafou of corruption.
Zakari Adamou, a talk show host on Canal 3 TV, was taken on Monday along with Ousmane Dan Badji, the editor L'Union, a newspaper, according to the Associated Press. Ousmane was a guest on Adamou's program and the arrests followed comments made by the two on a January program.
These 2 arrests follow the detention of Soumana Idrissa Maïga, editor of the L'Enquêteur. He was arrested on January 23 because of an article he published on his newspaper's January 17 issue. He was accused of "plotting against state security" and "abetting wrongdoers,” according to Reporters Without Borders.
The new detainings also follow the arrest of Abdoulaye Maman, a talk show host on Bonferey TV. He was arrested for comments made on a January 25 show.
Press freedom groups are have raised concerns about the recent treatment of journalists in the West African nation, which has made progress in transitioning to democracy following the 2009 ouster of former president Mamadou Tandja.
"Since the democratic transition of 2009, Niger's leadership has often been cited as an example for its respect of press freedom, but the government's crackdown on critical journalists threatens to roll back the country's democratic progress," said the Africa Advocacy Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Mohamed Keita. "We call on Nigerien authorities to release the journalists still in custody and respect its own laws pertaining to the media."
In an interview with the Associated Press, Justice Minister Marou Amadou said the government will not allow journalists to challenge the country’s democratic framework or call for its destabilization.