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Rwanda14 June 2006

Authorities urged to explain why RFI correspondent was forced out

Reporters Without Borders today called on the Rwandan government to explain its behaviour towards Sonia Rolley, the accredited Kigali correspondent of the French public radio station Radio France Internationale (RFI), who was ordered to leave the country on 10 June after being unable to renew her visa.

“Once again RFI is the victim of the whims of an African government that offers no explanation for its actions,” the press freedom organisation said. “Issuing visas is a sovereign act but a reason should be given when one is refused, especially when a foreign journalist is involved. The Rwandan government should at the very least issue a statement.”

Rolley had been RFI’s Rwanda correspondent and a stringer for Agence France-Presse (AFP) since October 2004. She had all the papers she needed to work as a journalist including press accreditation, which she got from the information ministry on 5 May. All she needed was to renew her visa. But the immigration department notified her on 8 June that she had to leave Rwanda within 48 hours. She was given no official explanation.

Olivier Péguy, RFI’s correspondent in Antananarivo, was forced to leave Madagascar on 22 May 2005 after the authorities refused to renew his work permit. The Senegalese authorities expelled Sophie Malibeaux, RFI’s permanent correspondent in Dakar, on 24 October 2003.

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