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Guinea: Reporters Without Borders denounces censorship of private media

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The NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) asked the Guinean authorities dominated by the military to “urgently” an end to the series of restrictive measures taken against certain private media, denouncing “attacks on press freedom on a considerable scale”.

Coming to power following a coup d’état in September 2021, the junta was committed to respecting press freedom, RSF recalled in a press release.

Since May 2023, attacks have increased: social networks and private radio stations cut off, information sites interrupted or suspended for several months without explanation, and journalists attacked or arrested in the field.

Latest examples to date, the High Authority of Communication, a policeman of the sector, asked the supplier Canal+ on Saturday and Tuesday the pay television service platform StarTimes to withdraw from its offer until further notice Espace et Evasion, widely followed radio and television channels. She cited reasons of “national security”, without further clarification.

These media remain inaccessible on Thursday.

FIM FM and Djoma FM radios have also been inaccessible in the country for two weeks, their signals being jammed without explanation.

Social networks such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are still unavailable without a VPN, RSF also points out.

“The lack of transparency of these decisions under the pretext of +national security+ is alarming, also discrediting the supposed independence of the regulatory body,” said Sadibou Marong, director of RSF’s Sub-Saharan Africa desk, quoted in the press release.

RSF demands clear answers from the authorities and that they do everything possible to restore access to censored media and social networks, he added.

In a statement a week ago, the Union of Press Professionals of Guinea (SPPG) and various press associations declared “enemies of the press” several government figures, including the Prime Minister.

They had called for a press-free day on Monday, saying the profession was “threatened with extinction.”

In October, security forces arrested a dozens of journalists and dispersed their demonstration using tear gas to unblock the Guinea Matin news site, which was also widely followed.

Prosecutions were initiated against them.

Guinea ranks 85th out of 180 countries in the world press freedom ranking published by RSF in 2023.

Africanews/Hauwa M.

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