Niger: Welcome to the para government press

"L’Afrique peut-elle se développer? TANDJA a osé !" shouts the headline. A suck-up piece about how President Tandja dares to reject colonial notions of "democracy" in favor of real "African" traditions. This is the same crap we've been fed for decades: cult of personality dressed up as liberation. What's interesting is that the byline is Ousseini Lawali in "La nation" N°00 of 13 January 2010. Yes, Number Zero of a brand new paper in Niamey, bravely printing the stories other refuse to tell of how great the President is. And so last week's meetings of the government press authority (CSC) come into focus. While the CSC was founded in 1993 to protect journalism, it is now a government controlled censorship agency. Last week it announced a vague "refoundation" of press laws and journalistic standards in Niger. So we we likely see the vibrant, if little distributed, independent newspapers gagged in coming months, to be replaced by "independent" papers like "la Nation".

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