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Authorities in Niger arrest five journalists

Authorities in Niger have arrested five journalists in the latest sign of political tension ahead of elections in February.

Tensions were raised on Nov. 14 when opposition leader Hama Amadou flew back to the country and was arrested.

Press advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, said that Souleymane Salha, publisher of private weekly Le Courrier, was arrested on Monday over a story criticising the deputy police director over Hama’s arrest.

The group also said that police arrested four reporters from two television stations who filmed authorities using teargas on stone-throwing protesters during Hama’s return.

‘’Police held them for a day, confiscating equipment and cell phones.

“We urge the authorities to free Salha at once and stop using preventive detention to intimidate media personnel,” Clea Kahn-Sriber, Africa head for the group said.

There was no immediate comment from police.

In the same development, 20 media organisations have called for a boycott of a state celebration of Niger’s National Press Freedom Day on Nov. 30.

The call was triggered by the arrest of five reporters who covered a student protest in October as well as other press violations by security agencies

(dpa/NAN)

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