The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) considers the detention of two Al Jazeera journalists and the withdrawal of their accreditation as an attack on press freedom and urges the Guinean authorities to allow the journalists do their work without any interference.
On October 17, 2019, the police in Conakry detained Nicolas Haque, head of Al-Jazeera’s office in Dakar and cameraman Hugo Bogaeert, for several hours before releasing them.
The journalists and their local fixer were arrested when they were filming at the Stade du 28 Septembre (28th September Stadium), which is so named to commemorate the killing of over 150 anti-government demonstrators by security forces in 2009.
Hague and Bogaeert, who were in Guinea to make a series of reports on political and economic issues in country, were arrested and detained by police who accused them of “spying and undermining state security”.
The state media regulator, Haute Autoritéde la Communication (HAC) also withdrew the accreditation of the journalists after they accused them of making “ethnocentric reports.”
The MFWA’s sources say the charge of “spying and undermining state security” was later dropped after the intervention of various influential figures including President Alpha Conde.
While we welcome this development, we urge the HAC to restore the journalists’ accreditation. We further urge the HAC to work to protect the media rather than participate and encourage the muzzling of journalists.