Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the serious deterioration of the press
freedom situation in Guinea-Bissau following Secretary of State for
Information João Manuel Gomes’ dismissal of a national radio journalist.
"After having targeted private media outlets and shut down the main
opposition radio station, the authorities are now turning their attention to
public media outlets. With only a few weeks to go before legislative
elections, these actions seriously threaten information pluralism in
Guinea-Bissau," Reporters Without Borders’ Secretary-General Robert Ménard said. "The government is
taking control of the entire news sector and the opposition is being robbed
of all possibilities to express itself today," he added.
The organisation asked the government to allow journalists from both public
and private media outlets to work in a free and safe environment.
On 8 March 2003, Ensa Seidi, the national radio station’s editor-in-chief,
was assaulted and expelled from the radio station’s offices by order of the
secretary of state for information. The journalist was accused of producing
and airing a report about former prime minister Francisco Fadul’s return to
the country. Fadul now heads an opposition party. He has announced his
intention to present himself as a candidate in the upcoming presidential
election, which is expected to follow the legislative elections scheduled
for 20 April.
Reporters Without Borders recalls that the government announced the permanent withdrawal of
Bombolom FM’s broadcast permit on 27 February 2003. The radio station was accused of
demonstrating a lack of "professionalism", "pluralism" and "objectivity" in
its news coverage. Bombolom FM was first shut down on 13 February for an
unspecified period, after an opposition politician criticised the president
on the air.