IMPROVING COMMUNICATION WITH CRISIS-AFFECTED COMMUNITIES
L'Observatoire Nigérien Indépendant des Médias pour l'Ethique et la Déontologie (ONIMED)
ONIMED – the Nigerien Observatory for Media Ethics and Good Practice - is a statutory self-regulation body set up under the terms of Niger’s 2010 Media Law.
This committee of 15 journalists and one non-journalist is designed to be a watchdog for press freedom.
It is also charged with curbing abuse by the media.
However, ONIMED has limited powers.
It can investigate complaints against journalists who break the media code set out in the 2010 Media Law and publicise its conclusions in a public statement.
However, it can do little more than pass moral judgement on whether or not an infraction of the media code has been committed by upholding or dismissing a complaint.
ONIMED’s first major test case came in July 2011. Aliou Oumarou Modibo, the editor of the satirical weekly Le Canard Dechaine, was arrested on charges of defamation.
The incident brought into question the government’s stated commitment to decriminalise defamation, making it a civil offence, punishable by fines rather than imprisonment.
ONIMED issued a public statement in support of Modibo, who was released after 24 hours in custody.
ONIMED is drafting a number of codes of practice for journalists, including an already published ‘Guide for Media in Conflict Situations’.
The regulatory body is run by Kane Illa, the owner and editor of the weekly satirical newspaper La Griffe.