The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the authorities in Guinea to stop terrorising media after recent attacks on radio stations that took place even before the government’s declaration of martial law yesterday evening.
Before martial law was declared yesterday, soldiers arrested two employees of a radio station and raided two stations and demanded that they stop broadcasting. Currently no private radio stations are broadcasting in the country, either because they have been shut down or are afraid of military attacks.
“We are calling on the Guinean authorities for the immediate and unconditional release of two Fm Liberté employees,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We denounce this terror in the media instituted by the state of siege and invite President Conté to put an end to it without delay so that the journalists can work with complete freedom and in full safety.”
Yesterday soldiers attacked Fm Liberté, one of the four new private radios stations in Guinea. The soldiers destroyed some equipment before arresting journalist Mohamed Tondon Camara and technician David Camara. The attack followed a phone-in programme during which the listeners asked for the departure of President Lansana Conté.
Similar programming, according to sources, prompted soldiers to raid another private radio station, Familia Fm, and demanded it stop broadcasting. Fearing that they will also be attacked, the two other private radio stations in Guinea have decided to shut down.
Yesterday evening President Conté declared martial law and said the country was in a “state of siege” after unions called a general strike and more than 10 people were killed. According to the President’s decree, the military authority “is entitled to take suitable measures to ensure the control of the press and publications of any nature, as well as radio or television broadcasted programmes.” The army also has the authority to control the postal, telegraphic and telephone correspondences.
The IFJ fears for the safety of local journalists and correspondents for international media in Guinea, some of whom are now in hiding because they fear they will be attacked. Reporting in the field also presents enormous risks for them. One was already injured during demonstrations in Guinea in January when someone threw a rock at a car carrying journalists.
For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries