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Guinea Bissau19 February 2003

Authorities shut down opposition radio station

On 13 February 2003, the Guinea-Bissau authorities shut down private radio station Bombolom FM for an unspecified period. The authorities accuse the station of "threatening state security".

Reporter Without Borders urges President Kumba Yalla to see to it that the radio station is allowed to start broadcasting again as soon as possible. "The station is often quite critical of the government, but in no way does it pose a threat to the country’s stability," stated Robert Ménard, the organisation’s secretary-general. "The government is simply using this as a pretext to silence an opposition voice," he added.

On 13 February, in the afternoon, several police officers visited the Bombolom FM offices and forced the station off the air. The radio station’s buildings were sealed and employees can no longer access their desks.

According to Secretary of State for Information Joao Manuel Gomes, the station is accused of "broadcasting false news likely to threaten national sovereignty and the country’s stability."

According to Bombolom FM management, the step may be linked to comments made on the air by an opposition politician who criticised the president.

Reporters Without Borders recalls that Bombolom FM has long been a government target. In the past few years, the radio station has regularly been threatened or subjected to various forms of pressure, and several of the station’s journalists have been detained or summoned by the courts.

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