Safety of Journalists in Guinea Deteriorating as Protesters Target Journalists

The month of March 2018, has been turbulent for journalists and media in Guinea as about nine journalists and three media houses have been attacked by angry protestors and individuals.

These attacks begun on March 13, when Djibril Firawa Toure of was physically assaulted and threatened with death at a stadium in Conakry. The journalist was targeted when he was seen recording a verbal assault on a referee who officiated a football match between local clubs Fello Star and Wakriya.

A day after this incident (March 14), some thugs believed to be supporters of Guinea’s ruling  political party, Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen, stormed the premises of Hadofo Media, comprising Espace Radio, Espace TV and Sweet FM, and vandalized the window glasses of the building.  The youth also vandalised vehicles and motorbikes that were parked on the premises.

The attackers also threatened to burn down the media houses which they accused of offering its platforms to striking teachers to express themselves. “It is you who worsen things, you give your platforms to unionists; we will burn down this place,” the attackers threatened.

According to the MFWA’s correspondent, while this was going on, gendarmes who were on the seen, looked on unconcerned as the youth vandalized the radio stations.

On the same day, individuals suspected to be ruling party supporters attacked eight journalists in two separate incidents.

In the first incident, journalists  Idrissa Barry and Djibril Kaback Camara were attacked while going to Kaloum to cover a demonstration. The motorbike they were riding, their camera and recorders were destroyed, their phones snatched from them.

In the second incident, a six-member crew of journalists from Evasion TV was stopped and attacked on one of the highways in Conakry by a group of protesters. The protesters then set fire to their vehicle with all the working equipment consisting of cameras, recorders, cell phones and other objects on board.

The MFWA is concerned about the deteriorating freedom of expression situation in Guinea. The country recorded the most freedom of expression violations during the last quarter of 2017, and it is unfortunate that the bad situation is continuing in 2018. We condemn all forms of attacks on freedom of expression, press freedom and freedom of assembly. We call on the police authorities to investigate these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice. we are also urging leaders of Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen to call their supporters to order.

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