July 16, 2020 Find out more March 15, 2018 – Updated on March 20, 2018 Critical TV journalist to be freed soon in Niger Help by sharing this information © Baba Alpha Organisation Receive email alerts News November 27, 2020 Find out more NigerAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Imprisoned News Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is relieved to learn that outspoken TV presenter Baba Alpha will soon be released from prison after his sentence was reduced on appeal by a court in Niger’s capital, Niamey, on 12 March. NigerAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Imprisoned May 11, 2021 Find out more The conviction of Niger newspaper editor Moussa Aksar is an attack on investigative journalism RSF_en to go further Niger: Two journalists arrested in disturbing setback for press freedom Follow the news on Niger A news presenter for Bonferey, an independent TV channel, Alpha will be freed on 4 April, exactly one year after his arrest in Niamey, because the appeal court reduced his sentence to two years in prison, the second of them suspended. He was originally sentenced to two years in prison and the withdrawal of all civil and political rights for ten years on a charge of forging and using forged identity documents. His lawyer, Mossi Boubacar, told RSF he welcomed the appeal court’s “courageous decision” but announced his intention to appeal to a higher court with the aim of overturning Alpha’s conviction, which he described as “excessive” and “indicative of the pressure on media outlets critical of the authorities.” “We have mixed feelings about this decision,” RSF said. “Baba Alpha’s imminent release is a great relief but we regret that his conviction was not overturned altogether. The fact that this news presenter, who is known for his criticism of the government, has spent a year in prison on disproportionate charges is still a disturbing message for all journalists in Niger who would like to speak with an independent voice.”Amid a decline in the security situation, respect for media freedom has fallen dramatically in recent years in Niger, which is ranked 51st out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index. Reports The 2020 pandemic has challenged press freedom in Africa News
Apart from its resistance to herbicides, the naturalization of Johnsongrass across much of the U.S. has also allowed the plant to develop attributes — such as cold and drought tolerance, resistance to pathogens and the ability to flourish in low-fertility soils — that make it particularly difficult to control. “The close relationship between sorghum and Johnsongrass poses both a challenge and an opportunity,” said Paterson, who is housed in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “The two species are so closely related that no herbicides distinguish between them, making control of Johnsongrass in or near sorghum fields especially difficult. “Regardless, the lessons we learn from Johnsongrass may lead to strategies to improve sorghum and other major crops.” A team of researchers led by faculty at the University of Georgia have received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to find new ways of combating Johnsongrass, one of the most widespread and troublesome agricultural weeds in the world. But the researchers also hope that learning more about the fundamental structures that give Johnsongrass its unusual resilience will pave the way for new genetic tools to improve useful plants, such as sorghum, a close relative of Johnsongrass that is grown widely for food, animal fodder and as a source of biofuel. Native to the Mediterranean region, Johnsongrass has spread across every continent except Antarctica. It was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s as a forage crop, but it quickly spread into surrounding farmland and natural environments, where it continues to cause millions of dollars in lost agricultural revenue each year, according to the USDA. This information may lead to new management strategies that target and curb its growth, providing farmers with a more robust toolkit to combat the invasive plant. Over the course of their five-year project, the researchers will work to develop a better understanding of the weed’s capabilities and the underlying genes that make Johnsongrass so resilient. “Weeds like Johnsongrass are a major challenge for agricultural producers around the world,” said Andrew Paterson, Regents Professor, director of UGA’s Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory and principal investigator for the project. “To make matters worse, widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops has been associated with a dramatic increase in herbicide-resistant weeds. With 21 genetically similar but different types of Johnsongrass known to be resistant to herbicides, it will only become more problematic in the future.” Other researchers working on this project include Jacob Barney, Virginia Tech; Jeff Dahlberg, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources; C. Michael Smith, Kansas State University; Wesley Everman, North Carolina State University; Marnie Rout, University of Texas, Temple; and Clint Magill and Gary Odvody, Texas A&M University.