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Gabon


-  Area: 267,670 sq. km.
-  Population: 1,262,000
-  Language: French (off.)
-  Type of state: republic
-  Head of state: President Omar Bongo

Gabon - 2003 Annual Report

There were fewer press freedom violations in 2002. This was probably due at least in part to the strict self-censorship practised in both the state and privately-owned news media. Two newspapers were nonetheless shut down for three months.

President Omar Bongo and his government maintained their control over the state-owned press. Asked about the role of the state-owned broadcasters on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2002, communications minister André-Dieudonné Berre said, "the state media must continue to play their role of being a relay of the governmental action promoted by the head of state." Ethiopia
The privately-owned newspapers chiefly serve the interests of the political parties that support them. The newspaper that was most critical of the government, Le Gri-Gri International (formerly called La Griffe), stopped coming out in 2002. Often banned in recent years, its disappearance was a relief for the president and his aides, who had regularly been targeted in its pages.
The weeklies Misamu and Gabaon were shut down on 6 September for three months on the orders of the regulatory National Communication Council (CNC), which accused them of carrying reports "likely to threaten the reputation of the state and the dignity of those at the head of the republic’s institutions."
The council said Misamu was being closed for reporting the disappearance of 3 billion CFA francs (about 4.5 million euros) from the public treasury and for saying that civil servants might not get their monthly pay checks in September 2002. Gabaon was closed for criticising senate president Georges Rawiri in its 9 August issue. Two other publications, Le Nganga and La Lowé, were given "formal warnings" because of articles deemed to have sullied the dignity of the prime minister.



africa countries list
Africa Introduction - 2003 Annual Report
Africa update
Angola
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Congo
Côte d’Ivoire
D.R Congo
Djibouti
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Liberia
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Rwanda
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe

see also
2003 Asia Annual Report
2003 Americas Annual Report
2003 Europe Annual Report
2003 North Africa and the Middle East Annual Report