Mauritania paper shortage paralyses private media
Mauritania's press union complained on Friday that a paper shortage had deprived readers of any privately-run media for more than 10 days, while state-sponsored publications continued to print normally.
A government-funded printing press covers two-thirds of private publications' costs in the French and Arabic-speaking West African nation, while such media are barred from publishing advertisements from public bodies to raise their own money.
"Since December 11, the national printing press has suspended printing of independent Mauritanian newspapers due to a shortage of paper," the RPM union said in a statement, adding 23 publications including seven daily newspapers were affected.
"Meanwhile state-run newspapers Chaab and Horizon are published as usual," it added.
A source with Mauritania's state printing press told AFP the stoppage was temporary and a delivery was expected "shortly".
But the union accused the government of "deliberately limiting information to state media," and called for the printing of all publications to restart immediately.
International campaign group Reporters Without Borders said in August journalists were arrested and questioned "to reinforce the government's control over the private press", adding that it was "impossible to criticise the state's actions without being called a political opponent".
Additionally, five private television stations had their programming suspended in late October over a reported financial dispute with the state broadcaster TDM.
One channel, Al-Mourabitoune, reached an agreement with TDM on Wednesday and has resumed broadcasting.