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Niger: Paris "very strongly condemns" the suspension of France 24 and RFI

Niger: Paris "very strongly condemns" the suspension of France 24 and RFI
This photograph taken on 9 April 2019 shows the headquarters of France's   -  
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France on Thursday condemned "very firmly" the suspension of the broadcasting of the media France 24 and RFI in Niger, where a coup d'etat overthrew the elected president Mohamed Bazoum.

Radio France International (RFI) and the France 24 channel have been inaccessible since Thursday afternoon, AFP journalists in Niamey noted. The signals of the RFI FM station and France 24 were cut "on instructions from the new military authorities", a senior Nigerian official told AFP.

"In Niger, the measures taken against the press are part of a context of authoritarian repression led by the authors of the attempted coup", denounces the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its press release.

"After having taken hostage the elected president of the Republic of Niger, they are engaged in a campaign of arbitrary arrests against democratic representatives", affirms the Quai d'Orsay in this press release, adding: "France condemns these serious violations of fundamental freedoms".

In a televised speech on Wednesday evening, General Abdourahamane Tiani, who seized power in Niamey at the head of putschist soldiers, affirmed that there had been no arrests following the putsch, and that the Council national for the safeguard of the homeland (CNSP) had "abstained from any repressive action".

The France Media World group denounced Thursday in a press release the interruption of RFI and France 24, "a decision taken outside any conventional and legal framework" a week after the coup.

In 2022, "1.9 million listeners (18% of the population) listened to the radio each week in the country", broadcast on seven FM relays, while a quarter of the Nigerien population followed the programs of France 24, detailed France Media World.

The authorities' decision "deprives citizens in the region a little more of their access to free, independent and verified information", regrets the public group, which has already "suffered censorship in Mali and Burkina Faso in recent months".

RFI and France 24 remain accessible via direct satellite reception, on the Internet, and RFI programs in French, Hausa and Fulfude continue to be broadcast on shortwave.

Since the July 26 coup which overthrew the elected president Mohamed Bazoum, sequestered for eight days, relations with Paris have deteriorated. Incidents on Sunday during a demonstration in front of the French embassy led to the evacuation of more than 500 French people.

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