On Thursday, March 20, 2003, authorities of the Guinea Broadcasting Corporation (RTG) stopped a live discussion program on the new state-owned Radio Guinée Internationale (RGI) FM station. The program was to debate Guinea’s position on the Iraqi crisis.
Acting on orders from the Ministry of Communications, the Director of RTG, Aissatou Bella Diallo, instructed the technician, Mamadi Nabé, to cease broadcasting and shut the phone lines. Journalists on the panel were also thrown out of the studios.
According to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Guinea sources, the Principal Private Secretary at the Communications Ministry, Ousmane Camara, irked by the liberal tenor of the discussants, queried the Director of RTG who promptly aborted the program.
Guinea is the only country in West Africa that has no private or independent radio station. Until recently, there were only two state-owned radio stations, RTG and Radio Kaloum Stéréo (RKS). When the government established RGI in response to public complaints about state monopoly of the airwaves, it promised to allow the station to operate independently and to treat any issue without exception. The abrupt interruption of the live broadcast, 45 minutes into the programme, undermines that undertaking.