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Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Mauritania

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1998
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Mauritania, February 1998, available at: [accessed 23 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Ministry of Interior continued its practice of banning outspoken newspapers with impunity. The infamous Article 11 of Mauritania's 1991 press ordinance grants authorities the power to ban the distribution and sale of any newspaper or periodical that is likely to harm Islamic principles or state authority, or that jeopardizes public order. Such broad proscriptions have been employed to silence newspapers that publish news or commentary on issues such as the practice of slavery in Mauritania, the improper activities of public officials, or internal power struggles within the regime.

The independent weekly Mauritane Nouvelles was again the target of repeated and unexplained government censorship. It was suspended for one month in April and later slapped with a three-month ban in October, prior to the presidential election in December. In both instances, authorities alleged that the newspaper had threatened "national security." Thirteen other issues of the paper were seized throughout the year.

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