Radio station censored

December 28, 2005

Radio Kasumai

Police entered the studios of Radio Kasumai, a community radio station in the northern town of Saõ Domingos, and ordered employees to stop broadcasting. The police also threatened several journalists. According to local journalists, the threats stemmed from a recent program in which callers complained on-air that police were illegally extorting money from local residents.

Police also detained at least one journalist from the station for questioning. Following the incident, Radio Kasumai’s management decided to shut down the station until police publicly rescinded all threats to the station’s journalists and promised to protect their safety. Radio Kasumai reopened on January 9 following a meeting between community leaders and police representatives, a journalist at the station told CPJ.

Saõ Domingos is in a turbulent area near the southern Senegalese region of Casamance, where rebel groups have fought for an independent state for over 20 years. Radio Kasumai’s reports on the spillover of refugees and Senegal’s ongoing negotiations with the rebels have also angered local authorities, according to Allen Yéro Embalo, a journalist in the capital, Bissau, who is active in the local media union. The union sent a delegation in January to Saõ Domingos to mediate between Radio Kasumai journalists and the police.