21 August 2013

Guinea: President's Supporters Ransack Provincial Radio Station

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

press release

Reporters Without Borders is appalled to learn that members of the ruling Rally of the Guinean People (RPG) ransacked Batè FM, a radio station in Kankan, 650 km east of Conakry, on 18 August, removing all of its equipment.

"The attack on this radio station is unacceptable and reflects a determination on the part of RPG's supporters to intimidate independent news media," Reporters Without Borders said. "We call on the authorities to identify and prosecute those responsible without delay.

"In the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections, we urge the ruling party and all of Guinea's political leaders to insist that their supporters respect the work and the independence of the media, regardless of their opinions."

One of the most popular radio stations in the Upper Guinea region, Batè FM was attacked by RPG supporters after it reported that President Alpha Condé got a hostile reception when he visited Kankan just weeks ahead of the 24 September elections. Although he is from the region, people brandishing critical signs jeered Condé.

Batè FM's manager fled after the attack, fearing for his safety. "Freedom of expression is an essential part of democracy, which clearly does not exist in Guinea," he told Reporters Without Borders.

Two days before the attack, President Condé's security forces temporarily shut down the station following Condé's arrival in the region. The same security forces also beat an Espace TV cameraman and smashed his camera during the president's visit yesterday to Labé, another town in Upper Guinea.

On 11 June, following the worsening of violent clashes between RPG and opposition supporters, Reporters Without Borders had published an article condemning the decline in security for news providers in Guinea. Read the press release here.

The West African nation is ranked 86th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

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