Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Niger denies visa to head of Reporters Without Borders

Much like the years following the death of Norbert Zongo when the Burkina government denied Robert Ménard entry to the country, Niger appears to be following suit.

The government of Niger has refused to provide Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard with a visa for a trip he was to have made to Niamey to participate from there in a special day of solidarity with the organisation’s imprisoned correspondent, Moussa Kaka, which Radio France Internationale is organising on 10 March.

After submitting a visa application to Niger’s embassy in Paris on 19 February, Ménard was notified seven days later that his request had been denied. Communication minister and government spokesman Mohammed Ben Omar subsequently confirmed the refusal to him by telephone.

“We deplore this discriminatory treatment, which is not in Niger’s interests,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We hope the government will not persist in this attitude, which will just perpetuate the status quo and hurt Niger’s image even more.”

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