23 July 2013

Guinea: Minister Shuts-Down Zaly Liberté Fm for Reporting On Conflict

Photo: Maseco Conde/IRIN
Protesters demand change during a nationwide strike in Guinea (file photo).

press release

Zaly Liberté FM, a privately-owned radio station based in N'Zérékoré, a district about 1,000 kilometres south of Conakry, the capital, was ordered to close down by the Minister of Communications, Togba Kpogomou, on July 18, 2013.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s monitor in the country reported that the minister's order came after a bloody clash on July 16, 2013 between two local communities, Konianké and Guerzé. The clash resulted in deaths of about 50 people while hundreds were injured.

According to the monitor, the minister ordered the closure of the radio station because he was angry with director of the radio station, Mamadou Saliou Diallo, for giving information about the clash to local and international press.

"The minister told me that I am the one giving information to the local and international press on what is happening in N'Zérékoré," said Diallo. The radio station has since been off air.

This development has provoked public condemnation from civil society and members of the Guinean Union of Free Radio and Television (URTELGUI).

"We express our indignation and condemn the closure of Zaly Liberté FM by the Minister of Communication, because this decision does not fall within his ambit," read a communiqué issued by the URTELGI.

Koly Bearogui, a civil society actor also lamented that "In fact, the Minister ... is looking for an alibi to close the radio station down. Otherwise it has done nothing wrong."

The MFWA stands in solidarity with the URTELGUI to condemn the closure of the radio station, which is a clear act to gag the media.

We urge the media regulatory body, the National Communication Council (CNC), to as a matter of urgency, act to redress the situation since it is the statutory body established to regulate the Guinean media.

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