Guinea's ruling junta accused of snubbing private press

Union leader says journalists not allowed to cover official events since Sept. 5 military coup

Aurore Bonny   | 13.10.2021
Guinea's ruling junta accused of snubbing private press

DOUALA, Cameroon

Guinea's ruling junta has been attempting to silence private media since the Sept. 5 military coup, a media union leader has claimed.

Journalists from private media outlets were excluded from national consultations that began on Sept. 14 and other official events that followed, according to Sekou Jamal Pendessa, secretary-general of the Union of Private Press Professionals of Guinea (SPPG).

"The private press has been excluded from events involving transitional authorities," he told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday. "This includes national consultations led by Col. Mamady Doumbouya and the inauguration ceremony of new Prime Minister Mohamed Beavogui."

Since Lt. Col. Doumbouya removed 83-year-old President Alpha Conde on charges of corruption, economic mismanagement, and constitutional amendments, the West African nation has been troubled by political unrest.

Although the journalists were not physically mistreated, the SPPG office-bearer said "the verbal tone used against them is wrong and rude."

He said journalists approached the union to express their frustrations with their inability to complete their duties, and have now decided to ask the transitional authorities not to bar them from reporting on national events, Pendessa said.

"Guineans have the right to information," he said. "Press freedom can not be stifled in this country."

Raid on media outlet flayed

The union leader also condemned a military raid on a private media outlet last week.

There was gunfire and two people were injured, including a security guard and a soldier, Aboubacar Conde, a senior journalist with Djoma Media, told Anadolu Agency.

After a few hours, some soldiers returned to inquire about the main computer system server, he alleged, adding that the media group's bank account was frozen prior to the raid.

The junta later claimed that the incident was caused by a "misunderstanding" between the military patrol and security guards of the media outlet.

But for the SPPG secretary general, “nothing can justify shooting in a room that houses journalists.” The junta's explanations for this situation "do not make sense," Pendessa said.

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