Committee to Protect Journalists
Country Report: Guinea
As of December 31, 1998

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Lansana Conte, who seized power in a 1984 military coup d'état and assumed the presidency in the 1993 elections that were widely condemned for their vote-counting irregularities, was re-elected to a second term in December. Less than 24 hours after the elections, Alpha Conde, leader of the opposition Guinean People's Rally (RPG), was arrested. Conde was subsequently charged with plotting to overthrow the government--an allegation that has been denounced by both citizens and international observers.

Government-owned broadcast media and the country's only daily newspaper, which rarely publishes opposition viewpoints or critiques of the government, provided one-sided coverage of the elections. Journalists who tried to provide balanced coverage ran afoul of the authorities. On December 24, the National Council on Communications (CNC) revoked the accreditation of Mouctar Bah, Conakry correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Radio France Internationale (RFI), for the "malicious character" of his election coverage.

Although several independent weeklies scrutinize the government, these newspapers operate under the constant threat of seditious libel charges for any coverage deemed insulting to the president. The constitution provides for some freedom of expression, but defamation and slander are criminal offenses.

Foreign journalists were expelled this year for their coverage of socio-economic problems arising from the increasing number of refugees streaming into Guinea to escape conflicts in neighboring countries.
Attacks on the Press in Guinea in 1998
Date Journalist Incident
3/17/98 Abdoulaye Sankara, L'Independent Harassed
3/16/98 Saliou Samb, L'Independent Expelled
3/8/98 Aboubacar Conde, L'Independent Harassed
1/7/98 Foday Fofana, L'Independent, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Expelled

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