Guinea’s Minister of Justice, Cheick Sako, has abused his authority by causing a journalist to be detained for allegedly defaming him in an article published by the online newspaper, Newsguinee.com.
Mamadou Saliou Diallo was arrested and detained by the police on June 20, 2018, following a complaint by the minister that the journalist had defamed him. In the alleged defamatory article, Diallo wrongly attributed to the Minister some controversial actions taken by his predecessor in connection with the construction of a new prison.
The Minister’s action is in breach of the Press Law of 22 July 2010 which decriminalised press offenses and excluded the keeping of journalists on remand or in preventive detention for press offenses.
The detention of Diallo has hence drawn outrage across the media landscape in Guinea. The MFWA’s partner organisation in Guinea, Association Guineenne des Editeurs de la Presse Independente (AGEPI), has called for the release of the journalist.
“Of course Mamadou Saliou Diallo displayed a lack of professionalism by not crosschecking the information available to him,” Moussa Iboun Conte, President of AGEPI told the MFWA. “However, I have taken up the matter with the director of the Police CID. I have also reminded Cheick Sako about the relevant laws and asked him to order the release of the journalist and to conform with the law which says that a journalist found guilty of press offenses is liable to a fine not exceeding US$200.”
The MFWA condemns the flagrant abuse of power by the Minister to violate the right of the journalist and call for Diallo’s immediate release. We also urge journalists to be professional and thorough in their research in order to produce factual and credible reports.