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Niger: insults on the Internet now lead to prison

In Niger, the reinstatement of prison sentences for offenses involving defamation or insult on the Internet has sparked controversy among public opinion.

The junta of the Conseil national pour la sauvegarde de la patrie (CNSP) has signed an ordinance to reinstate prison sentences for any offence committed by electronic means of communication and likely to disturb public order.

Anyone found guilty will face between one and five years’ imprisonment.

For civil society, this decision is notably “an attack on freedom of expression and of the press”.

On social networks and certain Niger news sites, journalists, jurists and activists are denouncing in no particular order “an attack on freedom of expression and of the press”, “a legislative regression”, “a serious step backwards” and “an instrument of repression!”

The order was signed on June 7, 2024 by General Abdourahamane Tiani, President of the CNSP, which overthrew the elected President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, 2023.

But it was only made public on June 12 by the Ministry of Justice.

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