See also:
» 28.10.2010 - Still good hope for Guinea polls
» 29.06.2010 - Ivorians follow Guinea vote with envy
» 28.06.2010 - Guinea hailed for first-ever free elections
» 14.05.2010 - UN praises Guinea, Niger transition
» 14.04.2010 - "Guinea security reform on track"
» 08.03.2010 - Guinea sets election date
» 16.02.2010 - Guinea’s civilian administration set up
» 03.02.2010 - Guinea twists September massacre findings

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Politics | Media | Society

Guinean newspaper banned from stands

afrol News, 11 May - After running a controversial interview with ex-Prime Minister François Lonceny Fall, the L'intelligent newspaper was denied distribution by authorities in Guinea. The interview outlined the "authoritarian tendencies" of the President as the reason behind Mr Fall's resignation.

The 2-8 May edition of the Guinean L'intelligent newspaper has not been permitted to appear on newsstands. The paper, which ought to have been on the newsstands by Monday 3 May, was not circulated by SOGUIDIP, the Guinean newspaper distribution company.

According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)-Guinea, the Ministry of Local Government prevented the distribution of the newspaper because it carried the front page banner headline, "Guinea - François Lonceny Fall: Why I am resigning."

The article, with the by-line of reporter Marwane Ben Yahmed, alleged that Mr Fall, who was appointed Prime Minister by General Lansana Conté barely two months ago, on 23 February, purported to "reveal" the reasons for his resignation.

The story alleged that ex-Prime Minister Fall was being frustrated at the head of government. He was also said to have been perturbed about the authoritarian tendencies of the aging and frail Guinean President.

The Prime Minister allegedly recalled an occasion when he tried to persuade General Conté about the need for some economic reforms. President Conté is said to have told riposted that, "... me, I am a General. You Ministers, you are my corporals. I give the orders, you carry them out. I don't discuss with you."

The article also attributed to the former Prime Minister, allegations about some hidden ploys of the government of President Conté. A power struggle is expected in Guinea as the President is getting weaker from an unknown disease while no clear successor has yet emerged.

- On 3 May, the management of SOGUIDIP had made several enquires with the Ministry of Local Government, MFWA reports, "seeking final authorisation to distribute the newspaper." Each time, the authorities of the Ministry had asked SOGUIDIP to hold on.

Consequently, only direct subscribers to the L'intelligent newspaper were able to receive the issue, which then begun to be photocopied and sold clandestinely in Conakry.

There is no specific law requiring SOGUIDIP to receive the permission of the MATD before distributing a publication. However, it has been a long-standing practice in guinea, which seems to have attained the force of law over time.

Media freedom and freedom of expression have been particularly violated in Guinea since the disputed 21 December 2003 elections returned General Lansana Conté, who first came to office in a coup d'état in 1984, to an unprecedented third five-year term in office.

The Media Foundation of West Africa today urged people to protest the refusal of the Guinea Ministry of Local Government to allow the circulation of latest issue of L'intelligent. Protest cards should be sent to President Conté, the Foundation urged.

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