Authorities censor French weekly

New York, May 5, 2004—Authorities in Guinea have blocked distribution of this week’s edition of the France-based news weekly Jeune Afrique L’Intelligent, which carries an exclusive interview with François Lonsény Fall, who just resigned as Guinea’s prime minister.

The magazine’s May 2-8 edition was expected on the streets of the capital, Conakry, on Monday but did not appear. CPJ sources say copies of the magazine were still at the distribution company SOGUIDIP after the Interior Ministry withheld permission to distribute them. Guinean law requires all publications to have permission from the ministry before distributing.

Marwane Ben Yahmed, Paris-based editor of Jeune Afrique L’Intelligent, confirmed that the issue had not been allowed on newsstands in Guinea. He said the magazine had been given no notification or explanation why. Ben Yahmed said he believes that the publication was censored because of the interview with Lonsény Fall, who announced in Paris on April 30 that he was resigning because of differences with Guinean President Lansana Conté. Lonsény Fall has been highly critical of President Conté. Guinean authorities might also be angered by the interview because they have not yet officially announced Lonsény Fall’s resignation, he said.

Local journalists echoed Ben Yahmed’s concerns, saying they also believe that the edition was censored because of the interview with Lonsény Fall.

This is the second time in six months that an issue of Jeune Afrique L’Intelligent has been censored in Guinea. Authorities banned the December 7, 2003, edition of the weekly because of an article alleging that Guinean authorities had secretly arrested dozens of army officers on suspicion of planning a coup.