Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Côte d’Ivoire26 September 2002

Foreign radio stations censored and journalists attacked

Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern today about curbs on press freedom in Côte d’Ivoire since the outbreak of an anti-government rebellion on 19 September, including the blocking of FM reception of major foreign radio stations.

"It is hard to believe the government’s explanation that the blocking of the stations for the past four days is a simple technical breakdown, especially since pro-government media have at the same time accused them of ’fabricating news’ about events in the country," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard.

"We call on the minister of communications to take immediate steps to ensure these stations can be heard once more." They include the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Radio France International (RFI) and Africa No. 1, all of them blocked since 22 September. Acting communications minister Lia Bi Douayaoua has denied giving any order to cut off their signals.

Ménard also called on the government to ensure the protection of journalists in the country. "Foreign media and journalists working for the opposition press are especially at risk," he said. "President Laurent Gbagbo must publicly state his commitment to press freedom and appeal for calm among his supporters."

Reuters cameraman Alain Amontchi, was set upon by demonstrators in front of the French embassy in Abidjan on 25 September who smashed his camera and objected to the presence of the foreign media. More than 3,000 self-styled "patriotic" young people were calling for France to hand over opposition leader Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who has taken refuge in the embassy.

Mamady Keita, a reporter for the daily paper Le Patriote, which supports Ouattara’s Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR) party, received head injuries on 23 September when was attacked by members of a youth movement close to President Gbagbo. They accused him of being a spy. Le Patriote and Tassouman, another pro-RDR publication, have not appeared for several days because of receiving many threats.

A Spanish tourist, who young protesters took to be a foreign journalist, was also attacked in the centre of Abidjan on 23 September and had to be rescued by plainclothes police.

Mohamed Fajah Barrie, of the Sierra Leonean paper Concord Times, has been stuck in the town of Bouaké, a rebel stronghold, for the past six days. He had been sent to cover a football tournament there in which a Sierra Leonean team was playing.



In this country
6 May - Côte d’Ivoire / France
French photographer freed after being held for 16 months in Abidjan
16 April - Côte d’Ivoire / France
Five years of unanswered questions since journalist’s abduction in Abidjan
8 April - Côte d’Ivoire / France
Open letter to President Sarkozy about French journalist who disappeared five years ago
1 April - Côte d’Ivoire
Judge frees Le Repère journalist but imposes heavy fine on him and his editor
24 March - Côte d’Ivoire
Examining judge orders release of French journalist but prosecutor appeals

in the annual report
Côte d’Ivoire - Annual Report 2007
Cote d’Ivoire - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives
archives

reports
18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists