- Journalists from the private 'Radio Télévision Ténéré' this weekend were threatened and assaulted by students in the capital of Niger, Niamey. They were preparing a report at Niamey University.
Management representatives of Radio Télévision Ténéré (RTT) had told the French media watchdogs Reporters sans Frontičres (RSF) about the incident. They explained that journalist Mariama Soumana and cameraman Youssouf Diallo were threatened while preparing a report at Niamey University on 13 June.
They had gone to the university to cover the students' poor living conditions and noticed that some students were selling boxes of sardines that had been stolen from the National Centre of University Charities (Centre National des Oeuvres Universitaires).
Certain students then threatened the journalists with retribution if they broadcast images of the scene or otherwise mentioned the students' illicit activities. Despite the threats, RTT aired the report on 13 June.
The next day, on 14 June, during RTT's airing of its news bulletin, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. (local time), a group of about 50 students arrived at the station's studios and assaulted several journalists and listeners.
- Radio station director Mallam Yaro and a security guard were hit, RTT officials told the French group. "An RTT vehicle and another belonging to a private citizen were also vandalised."
In a 15 June 2003 letter to Communications Minister Oumarou Sidikou, RSF urged the authorities to launch an investigation and take legal action following the 14 June attack.
The organisation also wrote to Niamey University's student union, condemning the physical assaults, damaging of equipment and threats against RTT journalists by a group of students.
- It is unusual for journalists to be assaulted in this manner in Niger, RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard noted in his letter to Minister Sidikou. "The authorities must respond when journalists are manhandled and their right to inform is threatened. It is the government's duty to react quickly and to re-establish Radio Télévision Ténéré's right to inform," Mr Ménard added.
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