The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the recent intimidation of the journalist Albert Dabo in Guinea Bissau by the chief of the national navy Rear Admiral Jose Américo Bubo Na Tchuto and the anonymous death threats the reporter has received by phone.
Dabo started receiving threats last June after Tchuto accused him of falsely attributing to the navy chief the allegation that soldiers are implicated in drug trafficking. The accusations stem from an interview for a British television in which the journalist acted as an interpreter for Tchuto. The navy chief also filed suit against Dabo last August in criminal court. The trial is still pending.
“These threats against Albert are an attempt to silence journalists covering drug trafficking in Guinea Bissau,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “The court case against our colleague is yet another attempt at intimidation. We are calling on the government to take action to put an end to the criminal suit and to end the intimidation Dabo and other investigative journalists in the country face.”
Dabo, who works with Reuters and the private radio station Bombolom Fm, has been receiving death threats since June. Because of the seriousness of these threats he was briefly in hiding. The threats have continued.
On January 7, Tchuto stopped his car in traffic in the capital city of Bissau and showed his fist in a threatening way to Dabo. A few hours later, the journalist received a death threat by phone.
After the navy chief launched a complaint against him, Dabo was charged on August with libel, violating state secrets, libellous denunciation, abusing press freedom and colluding with foreign journalists.
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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries