Cote D’ Ivoire ALERT: Three journalists receive death threats

Madeleine Tanou, female reporter of Soir Info, an independent daily newspaper on the night of February 6, 2011 received death threats from persons believed to be members of Groupement Patriotique pour la Paix (GPP), a pro-Gbagbo militias, for allegedly writing negative things about Laurent Gbagbo.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent in Cote d’Ivoire reported that Tanou received three SMS claiming that she now been supports Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognise president of the country.

One of the messages read: “It is you journalists of the Groupe Olympe who are saying bad things about Gbagbo. Be careful, otherwise, one day the GPP will visit you at night. As for you Tanou, we know where you live. You support the RHDP (Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace), you will see. When your premises went up in flames, was it not Gbagbo who bailed you out? And you go about castigating him. We are not joking. We will skin you alive. You will see.”

Another message read:”We thought that you were neutral, now you are supporting ADO (Alhassane Dramane Ouattara) and Bedie (Henri konan). If you do not take care, you will see what will happen to you. Do you remember your colleague who was killed last week and you, you must think”.

In a related development two other journalists have also received death threats. Assomon Anoh , director of community radio Bia FM , located in Aboisso, a town of about 122km south-east of Abidjan was threatened by persons suspected to be militants of Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy Peace(RHDP) for synchronizing his station’s programme with that of Gbagbo controlled state-owned Ivorian Broadcasting Corporation (RTI). Following a January 5 story on the alleged defection of 12 officers of Gbagbo’s Defence and Security Forces to Ouattara camp, Kesy B. Jacobs, editor-in -chief of the Nord-Sud Quotidien, a newspaper sympathetic to the RHDP, has been subjected to insults and threats on the telephone persons he suspected to be Gbagbo’s clansmen.

MFWA is deeply concerned about safety of journalists in Cote d’Ivoire. We urge the authorities and the two factions in the political crisis to guarantee and protect the lives and rights of journalists.

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