Niger: Getting Unwanted Attention

Foreign governments are beginning to put public pressure of Tandja Mamadou, following his seizure of the power last Friday.  Did anyone mention oil?

After hearing the US State Department  is getting all their information on Niger from Italian reporters in press briefings, it seems only fair to follow up.  One may scoff at the importance of the US, notoriously ill informed about Africa, but when the US speaks, others listen. The White House released a one paragraph condemnation yesterday, and suddenly every news source from Mexico City to Idaho has a blurb about Tandja’s coup. Even right-wing US bloggers were busy digging out maps. It’s the one north of Nigeria.

Never mind that the unattributed White House statement is just a rewrite of the State Department text from a May: the attention one heading on the White House website seems to = worldwide press coverage. We’re supposed to be concerned about print journalism going downhill why?

Also a note to journalists: if you lift text verbatim from Wikipedia, you’re supposed to attribute it. If I see the aside about “Tandja’s oath on the Koran  being a big deal in a Muslim nation” on any more newspaper websites, printed word for word from Wikipedia, I will scream.

But Tandja and company should be paying closer attention to increasingly stronger statements from Ban-Ki Moon, the EU (who provided roughly double Niger’s government budget in aid to the nation last year), and  Abdou Diouf from La Francophonie.

Just in case none of this dissuades President Tandja from continuing his drive to dictatorship, I’d like to address the following to the Government of the United States of America:  Niger now has oil.

Round up on today’s events coming up shortly.

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