Côte d’Ivoire: Regulatory body suspends newspapers, journalist

The Ivorian media regulatory body, Conseil National de la Presse (CNP) has suspended L’Intelligent d’Abidjan and Aujourd’hui newspapers, together with a journalist, following publications that the regulator deems unprofessional.

A statement issued on November 9, 2015 by the CNP said the two papers have been banned for three editions, while journalist Alafe Wakili, alias Charles Kouassi of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan, has been suspended for 30 days with his professional ID card withdrawn during the period.

The latest sanctions bring to six the number of newspapers banned, with two journalists also suspended in the past three weeks. Newspapers Le Nouveau Courrier, Le Temps, Le Patriote and L’Inter as well as journalist Cyrille Djedjed of L’Inter are among those sanctioned by the CNP.

The MFWA correspondent in Côte d’Ivoire reported that Alafe Wakili of L’Intelligent d’Abidjan published an article accusing a son-in-law of former president Laurent Gbagbo of planning a coup to destablise the country under the inspiration of an alleged prophetic revelation by an unidentified prophet.

 By offering its support to the dissemination of this prophetic vision, the reporter defaulted on his duty and “seriously implicated Mr. Stéphane Kipré,” the CNP added.

The newspaper Auhourd’hui, on the other hand, was accused of defying several cautions from the CNP and repeatedly publishing statements and press releases signed by persons falsely claiming to represent the Front Populaire Ivoirien (FPI), party of former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo. The statement said those publications are in violation of Directive No.008 of July 16, 2015 which prohibits impersonation.

“The affected media organizations and the journalist each have 30 days to appeal the decision at the administrative division of the Supreme Court,” the CNP concluded in its statement.

The MFWA reiterates its deep concern over the spate of suspensions of newspapers in Côte d’Ivoire, and calls on the CNP to reconsider its response to breaches of the professional code. We are concerned that the suspensions could lead to self-censorship. We also urge the Ivorian media to be more professional in their reportage.

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