8 November 2017

Guinea: Authorities Scramble Transmission of Radio Station, Arrest Journalists Over 'False Alarm' Charges

press release

Gendarmes have stormed the premises of Radio Gangan in Conakry and arrested three of its management personnel, while the station's transmission has been scrambled by the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT) in Guinea over what the authorities claim to be speculations on the network about the death of Guinea president, Alpha Condé.

Mamadou Tanou Bah, Sékou Djamal Pendassa and Djéïnabou Diallo - Editor in Chief, his deputy and the Commercial Manager respectively, were arrested on October 30, 2017 shortly after Radio Gangan aired a programme which was largely misunderstood to have announced the death of Guinea president, Alpha Condé.

"We are all mortals. We had président Sékou Touré and president Lansana Conté ; they are both dead. President Alpha Condé will also die."

This sound bite, which was followed by dirges, led to widespread rumours that President Conde was dead, with Radio Gangan cited as the source. Unfortunately, Guinea's post and telecommunication regulator, (ARPT) reacted to the false rumours by scrambling the station's transmissions, while a group of gendarmes stormed the premises to arrest the three.

The Editor, Mamadou Tanou explained the issue to journalists who rushed to the Tannerie Gendarmerie to show solidarity;

"You know we lost a journalist, Alsény Duplex Sylla yesterday (October 29). As a tribute to him, we replayed one of the old programmes of which he was the principal presenter and in which his co-presenter made the point that nothing is permanent in life."

The three detained media professionals were released after five hours. However, Aboubacar Camara, general manager of the station, was taken into detention when he went to the gendarmerie to protest the arrest of his colleagues.

This is the second time in eight days that journalists in Guinea have been arrested in the line of duty. On October 22, 2017, two reporters from Télévision Espace; Jibril Kaback Camara and Amara Alex Sylla, were arrested for taking pictures of an armoury at the Apha Yaya Diallo military camp. The facility had caught fire the previous day with explosions from the site terrifying neighbouring residents all night.

"We were forced by the military officers to delete all the pictures we took. It was not until we deleted the pictures that we were released," reported one of the arrested journalists.

The MFWA urges the authorities in Guinea to take steps to end the recent spate of hostility against journalists and the media. We call for the release of Aboubacar Camara and an end to the scrambling of the transmission of Radio Gangan, which is a flagrant attack on press freedom and the Guinean public's right to information.

Guinea

Judges Conclude 2009 Massacre Inquiry

The panel of Guinean judges investigating the September 28, 2009 massacre of more than 150 protesters and rape of 100… Read more »

Copyright © 2017 Media Foundation for West Africa. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 900 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.