The International Federation of Journalists today denounced a series of "brutal and unwarranted actions" by armed soldiers in Touba against two journalists at a time when Guinea is preparing for its national election.
On June 27th, Azoca Bah, reporter with the Le Lynx la Lance Group and Aboubakar Akoumba, Managing Editor of the weekly L’Aurore newspaper were assaulted by armed soldiers of the presidential guard. Their documents, together with Bah’s camera and films, were also seized and destroyed.
Bah and Akoumba had gone to report on a demonstration by supporters for the current President’s, Lansana Conté, candidature in the next elections. "These unwarranted actions are deplorable," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Guinean authorities must respect the need for press rights, press freedom and democracy."
The IFJ says that this is not the first case in which journalists’ safety and their rights to freedom of expression have been denied. On March 18th, officials of the Internal Security Service (DST) physically assaulted Bah and a fellow colleague at a meeting of journalists called by General Conté at the Presidential Palace.
As the ruling Party for Unity and Progress (PUP) looks to re-elect President Conté, head of State in Guinea since 1984, the IFJ demands that, "these journalists must be protected from such brutal assaults, if Guinea is to avoid being branded as a country that tolerates a callous disregard of basic democratic rights."
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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries