Guinea: Hospital Authorities Seize Journalist’s Equipment, Hand Her over to the Police

A reporter of Radio Lynx FM in Guinea was on February 1, 2017 arrested by the authorities at the Ignace Deen Medical Centre in the capital, Conakry and subjected to intense interrogation.

She was investigating poor conditions at the hospital, the second largest in the capital when she was accosted by one of the doctors.

Narrating her ordeal on the Lynx channel, Mariam Kouyaté said she got access to the premises of the hospital after showing her professional identification card at the entrance. While she was interviewing patients about their experience regarding the facilities and conditions at the hospital, a doctor appeared and questioned her about her action. “I identified myself and told him my mission, but the doctor seized my working equipment. He took me to the Director of the hospital who also questioned me and subsequently ordered that I be sent to the Judicial Police.

“They rained insults on me all the way to the police station where I was subjected to aggressive interrogation for hours,” Kouyaté lamented.

The MFWA’s correspondent in Guinea says it took a public outcry for the reporter to be released by the police later in the day. The correspondent added that the poor state of the facility is already well-known. There is no running water in the wards and there is a shortage even of oxygen masks for operations, but the authorities are obviously uncomfortable with further exposure in the media.

The MFWA is concerned about the arrest of Kouyaté and the verbal abuse she suffered in addition to the confiscation of her equipment. The reporter was performing her legitimate role as a media professional with a responsibility to inform the public about poor service delivery. We therefore call on the authorities in Guinea to ensure not only that the perpetrators are appropriately sanctioned but also that the incident does not recur at the hospital.