Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bird flu now found in Burkina Faso

On April 4, 2006 Keith noted Bird flu now found in Burkina Faso - the 5th African country to confirm the presence of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus.

Niger begins cull weeks after finding bird flu

Niger began culling poultry on Sunday, more than a month after it first discovered an outbreak of deadly avian flu near its southern border with Nigeria.

Full story Reuters 9 Apr 2006.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Niger to block foreign press reporting food crisis - What's up with Mr Tandja?

Today, Reuters says Niger's government denied it had stripped the journalists of their accreditation, saying it had summoned them to explain that their coverage was one-sided and did not present the country's efforts to solve its problems:
"We did not expel the BBC. We summoned the team to say their report had caused shock and Niger is more than just recurring food shortages," said Fogue Aboubacar, secretary-general at the Culture, Arts and Communication Ministry.

"Niger is also about the authorities attempts to solve these problems and one must stop focusing on the negative side," he added. "That is what happened in 2005 and we are not going to tolerate it, especially as harvests have been good."

"Be it the BBC, CNN or any other media, we will not hand out more accreditation on the food situation," he said.
Full report.
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Committee to Protect Journalists

SPJ News Alert - excerpt: CPJ sources said that government officials insisted that the BBC team had been granted visas to cover bird flu and that they had exceeded their authorization. Government spokesman Mohamed Ben Omar told Radio France Internationale today that any journalist was free to come to Niger but that "telling stories that are not true is another matter." CPJ attempts to get further comment from the government were unsuccessful.
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What's up with Mr Tandja?

Ali at The Salon writes What's up with Mr. Tandja? and asks "Does someone understand this better than I do?"

I have left a comment at Ali's post, providing a link to a post here at Niger Watch. Last year, I used this blog to monitor reports on Niger's alleged famine. Sorry, right now I am unable to spend more time blogging but if you are interested in getting an insight into why Niger is blocking the press from reporting on Niger's food market, please scroll through each month of archives here in the sidebar, particularly August and September of last year. There are not a great deal of posts within each month, just glancing through the titles will give you an idea of why Niger's Government says it is against the media "telling stories that are not true" - and make up your own mind as to why Niger is being proactive this year in its handling of the media. I'll try write more on this when able at a later date, right now I am upkeeping several blogs and it is time consuming tracking and reading daily news reports on the Sudan, Uganda, DRC, Ethiopia and Niger.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Niger halts BBC hunger coverage

Niger has withdrawn permission for a BBC team which found evidence of hunger in the country to continue to report on the humanitarian situation there, BBC reported 3 April 2006. Excerpt:

Officials said international and local media would not be allowed to do stories about the food situation as they did not want that subject touched. Hunger and malnutrition are recurrent problems in Niger, which is the poorest country in the world.

Last week the United Nations included Niger in a major fundraising appeal. Officials said they they did not want foreign or local media to report about food supplies or malnutrition. The officials also criticised aid agencies without naming names, claiming that some of the funds raised for Niger last year did not reach their destination.