France condemns Niger for suspending media operations of France 24, RFI

France on Thursday condemned Niger’s decision to suspend operations of its two state-owned international media outlets in the country, including France 24 television and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

“France reaffirms its constant and determined commitment to press freedom, freedom of expression, and the protection of journalists,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry criticized the decision as “an authoritarian repression step” by the group that staged a military coup on July 26 and “took the elected President (Mohamed Bazoum) hostage.”

Paris condemned the “arbitrary arrests of democratic representatives,” calling them “serious violations of fundamental rights.”

A group of soldiers calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP) delivered a statement on Nigerien state television on July 26, shortly after detaining President Bazoum, and said they took the step due to the “deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

France evacuated over 1,000 people from Niger on Tuesday and Wednesday, including 502 nationals from 50 other countries.

Bazoum was elected in 2021, in Niger’s first democratic power transition since it gained independence from France in 1960.

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