31 May 2013

Guinea: Death Threat Against Journalist

press release

Nouhou Baldé, deputy chief of the Guineenews website and an investigative journalist on May 20, 2013, received a life threatening message from an unknown assailant via his mobile phone.

The threat comes days after Baldé published on his website a purported death threat against the Head of the Guinean Opposition Parties, Elhadj Cellou Dalein Diallo.

According to reports from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s monitor in the country, the message, sent from a foreign telephone number - 00244945825782 read "It is not Cellou that we are going to attack, it is you. Start paying your debts, because in three months time, I will be in Guinea purposely for you."

Baldé, who is also the Director of the privately-owned weekly, L'Observateur, has since May 16, 2013 been receiving telephone calls from unidentified persons who threaten him and vow to kill him soon. One such caller threatened that "We know who you are, and we will finish soon with you."

"I have been blacklisted by extremists of the regime of Alpha Condé, the President of the Republic of Guinea, since I revealed and published on my website the threat against Diallo," said Nouhou Baldé.

Media rights defence associations in Guinea have employed the services of Thierno Souleymane Baldé, a human rights lawyer to serve as legal counsel for Baldé. Thierno has since lodged a complaint on behalf of Nouhou Baldé against Mr. "X" before the State Prosecutor of the First-Instance Tribunal of Conakry II.

MFWA condemns this attack and supports the move by the Guinea-based media rights associations to lodge a complaint at the Court. We request Madifing Diané, Head of the Guinea Police Service to immediately sanction an investigation into this case.

We also urge President Alpha Conde to come out and speak against these recent attacks and harassment against the media. The government should take immediate steps to safeguard the work of the media, considering their importance in promoting democratic governance, specifically as the country holds its legislative elections in June this year.

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