6 November 2017

Guinea: Radio Station Suspended 'For Undermining National Security'

press release

Conakry-based Espace FM has been suspended for a week by Guinea's media regulator, Haute autorité de la communication (HAC), after airing a programme that the regulator deemed to be prejudicial to national security.

The suspension, which was announced on November 3, 2017, is in connection with the November 2, edition of the Grande Gueules (Big Jaws) programme aired on Espace FM on which, according to the HAC, is "liable to undermine national security, the morale of the armed forces and public order. »

The MFWA correspondent says that the panelists decried the sorry state of military garrisons in the country and took the military authorities to task for not attending adequately to the psychological needs of Guinean soldiers who have returned from peace-keeping missions in Kidal, Mali. The panelists also reportedly urged soldiers to learn to adapt to civilian life when in public - in traffic, at the petrol stations or at grocery shops.

Following the programme, the HAC summoned Kalil Oulare, the Director General of the Hadafo Media Group, which operates Radio Espace and subsequently announced the suspension of radio station and all its relay outlets across the country.

Meanwhile, Oulare insists "that there was no information which could be considered to be subversive or illegal" in the content of the programme in question, and hinted at challenging the suspension at the court.

"We are exploring the remedies available, especially at the Constitutional Court or Supreme Court," Oulare told news website Guineematin.com.

The Union of Radio and Television Networks in Guinea (URTELGUI), have also condemned the HAC's decision and announced a march for November 7 to protest against the suspension of Radio Espace, among other recent anti-media decisions by the regulator.

The MFWA believes that suspending a major radio station together with several relay outlets is an extreme measure. We join the Management of Radio Espace and URTELGUI in protesting the suspensions while urging the HAC to prioritise the interest of the media above all other considerations.

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