Cote d’Ivoire UPDATE: Media groups demand immediate release of detained journalists

Professional media organisation in Cote d’Ivoire issued an ultimatum to the Ivoirian authorities to free the three senior journalists of privately-owned daily, Le Noveau Courier newspaper being held for publishing a leaked report on corruption in the cocoa and coffee sector of the country.

The journalists, Saint Claver Oula, Stéphane Guédé and Théophile Kouamouo, editor-in-chief, publisher and managing editor respectively, were detained on the orders of the public prosecutor, Raymond Tchimou Fehou. They had been in police custody since their arrest on July 13.

At the news conference in Abidjan, the capital, the media groups threatened that should the authorities fail to release the journalist by the close of the day July on 16, they would all publish the full report of the enquiry of the alleged embezzlement in their respective media on July 19.

The journalists who refused to reveal the sources of the information were expected to appear before the public prosecutor’s department on July 16.

Désiré Gueu, the counsel for the journalists said that it was likely that his clients would be charged for “theft of an administrative document” and sent to the Abidjan Civil Prison, following their refusal to disclose their sources.

MFWA urged the media group to remain steadfast in their resolve to ensure the release of the journalists and reiterated its earlier call for the journalists to be released immediately and unconditionally.

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