Cote d’I voire ALERT: State-owned newspaper suffers rocket attack; Journalist union expresses concern about safety of the media

The building, housing the headquaters of the state-owned Fraternité Matin newspaper group was on the night of March 5, 2011 attacked by unidentified persons.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the attackers, who were spotted driving a tainted glass vehicle, launched missile which the police said was from a rocket-propelled grenade weapon, on the building and landed behind the account’s department.

However, the correspondent said the attack which occurred at about 21 hours GMT recorded no casualties as well as material damages.

The police have since commenced investigations into the incident.

In another development, Déby Dalli Gbalawoulou, the director of pro-Gbagbo media regulatory body, National Press Council (CNP), on March 4, 2011 received death threats from an unidentified man believed to be a supporter of Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized President of Cote d’ Ivoire.

The correspondent said the threat was communicated through a journalist of Agence Ivoirienne de Presse (AIP), B.A. Chantal, on the telephone. The caller accused the CNP’s director of bullying pro-Ouattara newspapers.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Ivorian Journalists (UNJCI) has expressed deep worry about the continuing deterioration of the working conditions of journalists and media professionals in Cote d’Ivoire since the beginning of the current political crisis.

In a statement on March 3, UNJCI said the working environment in the country has become very dangerous and called on the Ivorian authorities to do whatever they could to preserve freedom of expression in the country.

According to the statement: “freedom of expression and press freedom must be protected at all cost and any attempt to intimidate or muzzle the media as is being done on both sides of the conflict is unacceptable”.

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