Author Archive for Tommy Miles

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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".

Niger: more lax working hours for government

This week's presidential decree: the rescinding of the "Journée continue" law of 2007. Much in vogue in the last decade across the Francophone world, the 2007 law mandating the elimination of the two or three hour lunch break was inspired by similar laws in Burkina and Mali. Government offices were expected to be open from 7:30 to 16:30 five days a week. But complaints continued that staff would leave on their short lunch at noon and just not come back. One can assume that this is a bone to administrators, as they will likely see pay cuts due to sanctions. Whatever the rights or wrongs, the initial change was made by the National Assembly, the government and the President, but in this new age, the stroke of Tandja's pen undoes it without public notification.

Greg Dunkel. Haitian History: What U.S. textbooks don’t tell

"This Week in Haiti," Haiti Progres, 17–23 September 2003. A two-part article looks at high-school textbooks in the U.S. to show why so may Americans are so ignorant about Haiti and how this limited knowledge has been distorted, muffled and hidden behind a veil of silence. Part of the large "World History Archives" fair use and free "Haiti Archives" documents.