04 April 2006

Media banned from Niger

Niger has withdrawn permission for a BBC team which found evidence of hunger in the country to continue to report on the humanitarian situation there. 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.

It is difficult to analyse the underlying motivations behind this decision but for the sake of the people in Niger this sitaution cannot go unreported. Despite being the poorest country in the world it rarely receives any press in the western media. French President Jacques Chirac was reportedly the only head of state to bring up Niger at the G8 summit last year, despite the fact that 3.5 million people are malnourished and 1.2 million face starvation. A culture of denial still appears to exist in the African nation and cannot be allowed to continue.

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