Government suspends newspaper over story critical of president

DECEMBER 18, 2007

Posted January 14, 2008



The state-run High Council on Freedom of Communication (known by its French acronym as CSLC) suspended private bimonthly Talassa for two months over a November 23 editorial critical of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, according to local journalists and news reports.The council accused the paper of “deliberate and repeated violations of legal, professional and ethical standards” in an editorial.

The piece commented on allegedly unfulfilled electoral promises by Nguesso, according to CPJ research. State regulators said the ruling was linked to the paper’s failure to enumerate the electoral promises, according to news reports. They also claimed that Director Ghys Fortuné Dombé Bemba had admitted in an official hearing that the story was “offensive.”

Bemba told CPJ that the government assertions were baseless. The Congolese Human Rights’ Monitoring Centre (known by its French acronym as OCDH) was expected to take the council to Congo’s Supreme Court over the ruling, Executive Director Roger Bouka Owoko told CPJ.