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Niger court sentences journalist to one month for criticizing judicial rulings

[JURIST] A court in Niger sentenced the editor-in-chief of the bi-monthly L'Eveil Plus newspaper to one month in prison Thursday for "discrediting" judicial rulings by publishing an article contrasting the different sentences handed down to two politicians convicted of similar offenses. Boubacar Gourouza was also ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 CFA francs. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website] criticized [RSF press release; country report] the sentence as "undemocratic," noting that comparing court decisions was common practice in democratic countries. The International Federation of Journalists [advocacy website] also condemned the decision and called for Gourouza's release [press release]. AFP has more.

Gourouza's arrest follows that of reporter Pierre Creisson and cameraman Thomas Dandois [profiles, in French] in December 2007. The two were charged [JURIST report] in January with threatening state security for allegedly trying to report on an ethnic Tuareg rebellion [BBC backgrounder] under the guise of traveling to southern areas of the country to report on the bird flu virus. The Nigerien government has banned all foreigners and reporters from entering the northern region, and has made reporting on the rebels a crime punishable by death.

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