Samira Sabou is a Nigerien journalist, blogger and president of the Niger Bloggers for Active Citizenship Association (ABCA).
In June 2020, Sabou was arrested and charged with defamation under the 2019 cybercrime law in connection with a Facebook post highlighting corruption, specifically the possible overbilling by the defence ministry. She spent over a month in detention before eventually being discharged and released.
This year, through her work with ABCA, she is conducting training sessions on disseminating information on social media based on journalistic ethics. The aim of this training, she says, is to give bloggers the means to avoid jail time. The need for this training is a consequence of the cybercrime law, enacted in 2019, which severely restricts freedom of expression in the country.
Sabou is also active in promoting girls’ and women’s right to freedom of expression and has championed women’s leadership through her work. This year, through ABCA, she is also fighting against child marriage, which remains a serious and widespread issue in Niger.
On 27 May 2021, about 20 police officers arrived at her home and attempted to arrest Sabou without a warrant. She was interrogated, without the presence of her lawyer and released later the same day. On 9 September 2021, Samira Sabou appeared before the Tribunal de Grande Instance Hors Classe de Niamey facing charges of “defamation” and “diffusing information to disrupt public order” as defined by the cyber crime law of 2019 in reference to an article on her Facebook page. The article was published by the Global Initiative regarding the Office Central de Répression du Trafic Illicite des Stupéfiants (OCRTIS) alleged reselling of drugs it had seized from illegal trafficking. Samira Sabou was charged alongside journalist Moussa Aksar, who also shared the same article.
Although the government of Niger continues to exert pressure on Sabou, she remains an outspoken supporter of freedom of expression, and especially media freedom, in Niger. Her aim is to open her own news agency and recruit young people who want to be innovative in the field of information.