Niger radio, TV channels in protest over tax audit
Privately-run newspapers and radio and TV channels in Niger protested on Monday over a tax audit that they said sought to "stifle" the country's independent media.
Media owners last week said they had been advised that inspectors would carry out a check on tax for which they were liable from from 2014 to 2017, as well as the coming tax year.
At least five broadcasting groups in Niamey halted their programming on Monday morning, with three TV stations leaving a protest message on screens reading, "Stop the murder of Niger's independent press."
Media owners issued a joint statement on Sunday to attack what they called the "curious" decision to unleash the tax inspection.
They also accused the government of failing to make payments on an annual fund to subsidise the private media, worth 250 million CFA francs ($470,000, 381,000) annually.
"We are henceforth convinced that the government's clear will is to stifle the private media," they said.
They also accused the security forces of carrying out physical assaults and arbitrary arrests among reporters covering anti-government protests.
Niger has a dozen private TV channels, nearly two dozen private radio stations and about four dozen print outlets.