Cote d’Ivoire Alert: Regulatory body slaps newspapers and journalists with fines and suspensions

The Ivorian National Press Council in a press statement issued on January 20, 2014, has sanctioned some newspapers and journalists for various “offences”.
MFWA’s monitor in the country reported that the Notre VoieLe Jour Plus and Le Nouveau Courrier newspapers, have been fined FCFA 3,000,000 ($ 6,000), FCFA 1,000,000 ($ 2,000) and FCFA 500,000 ($1.000) respectively for publishing false information.

Moussa Traoré, President of the UNJCI, and Alafé Wakili, manager of the Socef-NTIC press company, publishers of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan newspaper, were each suspended from writing articles for a period of six months in addition to the withdrawal of their professional journalist’s identity cards.
The Council also imposed a 52-issue suspension (a two-month ban) on the Aymar Group press company, publishers of Le Quotidien d’Abidjan, newspaper for being “accustomed” to the publication of articles “bordering on invention”.

Again, N’Guessan Kouassi of Le Jour Plus newspaper and Oula Saint Claver of Le Nouveau Courrier newspaper have been suspended from writing articles for a period of one month and their professional identity cards have also been withdrawn.

According to MFWA’s monitor, the Press Council accused Kouassi and Claver of acts of “attempted corruption” of another journalist, Assalé Tiémoko, who is the manager of the satirical newspaper L’Eléphant déchaîné, for him to abandon the idea of publishing a compromising article on the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Madam Kaba Nialé.

The MFWA is very alarmed by the fines and suspensions and appeals to the National Press Council to reconsider their decisions as these suspensions may lead to self-censorship.

We urge the Ivorian media to be more professional in their work to avoid these sanctions.

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