Cybercrime law detrimental effects on press freedom in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali & Niger – Sahel)

With a particular focus on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, the objective of this study was to generate an informed tool in favour of revisiting these laws, taking into account the existing legal frameworks for the media.

Recent and relatively new cyber-laws in West Africa pose increasing problems for media and journalists to operate freely. For this reason, IMS has with E-jicom in Dakar as lead, undertaken this comparative study. The study focuses on the media sector as an important sector in society and can serve as a tool for the whole sector (media outlets, journalists, socio-professional media organizations, lawyers, supervisory authorities, governments, international organisations and donors, etc.) in the implementation of potential recommendations, potential reforms, and/or in the development of cyber laws (or other laws), taking into account the existing legal frameworks for the media. The hypothesis from the outset of the research was to investigate how new laws on cybercrime (or aspects relating to the dissemination of information on the Internet in other laws, such as anti-terrorism laws for example) call into question the achievements in terms of press freedom, and at the same time pose threats to the safety of journalists and the existence of media outlets.