Media legislation

Following the General States of the Press held from 29 to 31 March, 2010 at the Palais des Congrès in Niamey, which brought together several actors including foreign experts, the authorities of the Transition of the Conseil Suprême pour la Restauration de la Démocratie (Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy - CSRD) adopted a new law on the press, in order to integrate provisions on the ban on preventive detention of journalists. Successively, Ordinance N 2010-35 of 4 June, 2010, governing the press regime in Niger and decriminalising the offenses committed by the press, was adopted by the CSRD regime. Article 67 of the Ordinance states that: "In the case of press offenses, preventive detention is prohibited. The judge can not issue a warrant of committal or an arrest warrant."

A draft law on the protection of press freedom was launched in 2018. This initiative is motivated by the need to draft a new law that guarantees a better exercise of the profession of journalist, freedom of expression and the independence of media and which will lay down the fundamental principles for the protection of freedom of the press, in accordance with the provisions of Article 100 of the Constitution of 25 November, 2010. It comprises 12 chapters and 91 articles.

The granting of an authorisation issued by the Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications et de la Poste (Regulatory Agency for postal services and telecommunications - ARTP) are required by: Independent networks in the public domain, including terrestrial; interconnection services of a network forming part of the Internet infrastructure; equipment enabling the public to access, for a fee, fixed-point and telex telephony services; any service by which an operator establishes a telephone connection between the Republic of Niger and a foreign country. In 2018 ARTP was renamed into Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et de la Poste (Authority for the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal services - ARCEP), which since then also takes into account digital communications such as online media and social media.

The commercial exploitation of value-added services such as voice mail services, the list of which is regulated, may be provided to any natural or legal person after filing a declaration of intent with the ARCEP, upon opening of the service.

Any telecommunications network or service that does not fall under either the licensing regime or the licensing scheme may be established and/or operated freely. These include: internal networks, subject to the conformity of their equipment; independent networks, whose termination points are less than 300 meters apart and whose links have a capacity of less than 2.1 megabits per second.

Cybercrime Law Adopted

The National Assembly adopted, on Tuesday, June 25 in plenary session, Bill No. 0267 on the fight against cybercrime in Niger. The adoption of this law has aroused controversy in public opinion, in particular on social networks, on the risks of obstructing freedom of expression or opinion, rights which are certainly guaranteed by the Constitution.

The bill in question was adopted by the government during the Council of Ministers on Friday June 7, 2019. According to the government, it aims to regulate the use of digital technology in Niger. “In the light of the recurrent abusive behavior noted in the use of digital technologies, it is not an exaggeration to consider that these constitute today a vector of potential and permanent risks for the security of States, for the realization of business, for the competitive strategy of businesses and especially for the privacy of citizens, "explained the government before transmitting the document to the National Assembly.

The Government claims to have proposed this text in order to "prevent acts which infringe the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer systems and data, as well as their fraudulent use". The new law also aims to "adapt, with a view to making them more effective, the rules of criminal procedure relating to offenses relating to computer systems and data as well as to electronic communication networks". It also determines, "the competence of national courts to hear offenses committed in the digital environment, and sets the principles for international cooperation and mutual legal assistance for the suppression of these offenses".

Article 32: Racist, regionalist, ethnic, religious or xenophobic comments

"Is punished with a prison sentence of one (1) to five (5) years and one million (1,000,000) to five million (5,000,000) CFA francs fine, whoever creates, disseminates or makes available, in any form whatsoever, writings, messages, photos, sounds, videos, drawings or any other representation of ideas or theories, of a racist, regionalist, ethnic, religious or xenophobic nature, through an information system ”.

Article 28: blackmail by electronic means

"Is punished with a prison term of two (2) to seven (7) years and a fine of five million (5,000,000) to twenty (20,000,000) CFA francs, whoever, by means of the threat of attacks on the confidentiality, the integrity of computer data or by any form 'attacks on the confidentiality or the functioning of the computer system, extorts or attempts to extort, either the delivery of funds or values, or the signature or handing over of the writings ”.

Article 29: Defamation by means of communication

"Is punished with a prison sentence of six (6) months to three (3) years and a fine of one million (1,000,000) to five million (5,000,000) CFA francs, whoever commits a defamation by means of electronic communication.

Article 30: Insult by means of electronic communication

"Is punished with a prison sentence of six (6) months to three (3) years and a fine of one million (1,000,000) to five million (5,000,000) CFA francs, whoever utters or utters any outrageous expression, any term of contempt or any invective which does not contain the imputation of any fact, by the means of an electronic communication ”.

Article 31: Spreading false news

"Is punished with a prison term of six (6) months to three (3) years and from one million (1,000,000) to five million (5,000,000) CFA francs fine, does so for a person to produce, make available to others or disseminate data likely to disturb public order or to infringe human dignity through an information system ”.


Personal Communication Interception Law Adopted

The deputies of the National Assembly adopted on May 29, 2020, the bill on the interception of certain communications transmitted electronically in Niger. The vote gave 104 votes in favor, 0 against and 0 abstentions. Opposition MPs boycotted the session to protest the law, which they describe as liberticide.

The Minister of Justice, Marou Amadou, explained that "this law only aims to track down those of Nigeriens or foreigners who will attack the security of the State and national unity, national defense and territorial integrity, prevention and the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime ”. According to him, this law aims to also punish "all those who will undermine the prevention of any form of foreign interference, those who are in intelligence with the enemy, as well as those who will oppose the safeguarding of the economic and scientific interests of Niger. " The Minister of Justice reassured that "people's private lives, their working relationships and their professional activities will not be affected".

According to opposition parties, «the interception of citizens' correspondence, even if authorized by law, must be the exception. And above all, it should be motivated by heavy presumptions about an individual". They add that "the secrecy of correspondence and communications is inviolable and no other paragraph will compel us to violate this provision of the Constitution".

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Nota Bene : There is no change in the other fields in terms of new association, media that shut down and new trend in communication. But once it happens, I will contact you in order to “reload” the Niger Media Landscape.