Unidentified men dressed in military uniform and armed with automatic weapons invaded the studios of Capital FM, 107 .7 in the Bilitar District of Bissau in the early hours of Sunday, 26 July, destroying the entire radio equipment.
The International Federation of Journalists (IF)J joins its affiliate, the Union of Journalists and Communication Technicians (SINJOTECS) in strongly condemning this blatant violation of freedom of expression and media freedom.
According to a SINJOTECS statement, the attack on Capital FM was “a futile attempt to silence the media.
“Government officials have already been informed about the incident as well as the judicial police” who had already visited the site.
Minister of Interior, Botcha Candé, accompanied by the Head of the Council of Ministers had also visited Capital FM and met with the station’s management and promised to open an investigation into the matter.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said that the armed attack was a direct assault on freedom of expression in Guinea Bissau which should be the concern of every citizen. “Every attack on the freedom of expression and media freedom in particular is a direct assault on democracy, which if not challenged and nipped in the bud will weaken the citizens’ drive to fight human rights abuses and corruption”.
The Government of Guinea Bissau must ensure that the perpetrators of this attack are arrested and charged in a competent court of law. The Government of Guinea Bissau must also do more in creating an enabling environment for the media to thrive by updating its laws in line with internationally recognised standards and guaranteeing the safety and security of journalists and media workers.