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Côte d’Ivoire27 January 2004

Two journalists from "Le Courrier d’Abidjan" newspaper assaulted by government minister

On 16 January 2004, Thierry Gouégnon and Danielle Sylvie Tagro, a photographer and journalist, respectively, with the private daily "Le Courrier d’Abidjan", were manhandled by Minister of Technical and Vocational Training Youssouf Soumahoro. Reporters Without Borders condemns the minister’s unacceptable behaviour.

"In a country like Côte d’Ivoire, which is in the middle of reconciliation efforts, it is unacceptable for a minister to physically assault journalists. Mr. Soumahoro must set an example and not resort to violence," Reporters Without Borders said. "We ask that the equipment confiscated during this altercation be returned to the journalists at once," the organisation added, while remarking that it hoped such an incident would not repeat itself.

On the afternoon of 16 January, Gouégnon and Tagro went to the offices of the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Training to cover a demonstration by higher education students who had overrun Soumahoro’s offices. The journalists were held against their will for about 20 minutes and the minister reportedly grabbed Tagro’s dictaphone, brutally twisting her wrist in the process. Gouégnon’s digital camera was also reportedly confiscated. The equipment has not been returned to the journalists.

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