The Republic of the Niger started experiencing press freedom in 1991, with the end of the military rule and the emergence of the democratic era. Popular pressure and a favorable international context characterised by the fall of the Berlin Wall and by the new "democratic conditionality" imposed by western countries such as France (which was urging its former colonies to set up democratic institutions), allowed the introduction of a multiparty system. The following convening of the Conférence Nationale Souveraine (National Sovereign Conference), which was held from August to November 1991, resulted in the appointment of a transitional government that ensured the conduct of the state until the parliamentary and presidential elections of March 1993, the first entirely free ones in the history of the young democracy.

Before that date, media were public or governmental, namely Le Sahel (print), La Voix du Sahel (radio) and Télé Sahel (television). The first private print media, created in 1990, was Haské (meaning “clearness” in the local Haoussa language). Later, a second newspaper, Le Paon Africain, appeared. The appetite for freedom of speech made both outlets very popular.

The political transition phase ended in 1993 and the rise of democracy allowed the creation of several newspapers. At that same time, Radio Télévision Ténéré (RTT) became the first free radio and TV station broadcasting in the capital Niamey, where most traditional media were located. Since then the proliferation of media has been expanding, even if the lack of funding and the limited audiences have been a historic weakness of the sector, together with a high level of illiteracy. As of 2019, many TV stations broadcast throughout the country with an emphasis on local languages, while newspapers are still mostly located and read in the capital.

The political context in which media operate in Niger has shaped a form of bipolarity in the press. One part of the outlets is linked to the ruling power while the other part is considered close to opposition parties. The political struggle is so hard that finding independent media in terms of free editorial lines is very difficult. This bipolarity can be clearly traced back to the scarcity of funding. Media owners are forced to tie links with those who have the capital to help them to develop their enterprise. During election periods, the phenomenon is accentuated by the competition for power between political parties. The two blocks are constantly fighting to ensure their media have influence on the population. This situation is ultimately the expression of the division of society and poses a big question on the reliability of Nigerien media. During the first Tuareg rebellion of 1990-1996 some journalists were accused of being close to rebels leaders. The rebels did not actually own any media, but some journalists were accused of being linked to them. In particular, Moussa Kaka, the correspondent of Radio France International (RFI) was jailed because of these alleged links.

Since the advent of democracy, media regulation is the duty of the constitutional institution called Conseil Superieur de la Communication (High Council of Communication - CSC). Journalistic professionalism is developed through workshops organised by press associations and NGOs. These workshops help to improve the quality of media and give journalists the means to work professionally. In 2010, a general meeting of journalists called Etats généraux de la presse (General Assembly of the Press) took place. At the end of the meeting, journalists created a structure with the intent to establish an overlooking system to protect ethical and deontological standards in the profession. Niger has also a Chart of Professional Journalists which contains advice on what should be the correct behaviour of a journalist.

The Government allocates a yearly grant to help media development. The first time the fund was established at 100m CFA francs (around EUR152,500) while it is now of around FCFA200m (approx EUR305,000). The grant is shared among media by the CSC. In order to be eligible for the press assistance fund, the press organs must imperatively fulfill certain criteria that have been set by the regulatory body. Each fulfilled requirement is awarded with points. Adding these points gives a global score of a certain amount. Each year, the Nigerien state, which is aware of the public interest in the work of the media, allocates this subsidy, which is mainly intended for private media. At the end of the year, the CSC checks the use of the funds in accordance with the agreement signed with the beneficiary press organs. In principle, breaches of the agreement may affect the allocation of the press assistance fund for the following year. Unfortunately, this control is practically not done, arousing suspects over a certain laxity in its context.