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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JUNE 27, 2003

Aboubacar Akoumba Diallo, L'Aurore
Boubacar Bah, Le Lynx-La Lance

Security guards attacked Diallo, publication director at the private weekly newspaper L'Aurore, and Bah, a reporter for the private newspaper group Le Lynx-La Lance (which publishes two weekly newspapers), in Touba, a town in northern Guinea. The reporters, who are based in the capital, Conakry, had gone to Touba to cover a visit by El Hadj Fodé Soumah, a leader of the ruling Unity and Progress Party (PUP), who is spearheading President Lansana Conté's reelection campaign.

During a rally for the president's supporters, which featured a Koran reading session for the president's health, guards confronted Diallo and Bah, punching and insulting them. The guards then confiscated and destroyed the journalists' notebooks, tape recorders, and a camera, the journalists told CPJ. Diallo and Bah often encounter the same security guards, who distrust them because they are members of the private media, which is known to be critical of the government, the journalists said.

Following a protest by a local journalists' organization, Fodé Soumah wrote a letter of apology to the journalists, Diallo and Bah said.

DECEMBER 7, 2003
Posted: January 2, 2003

Jeune Afrique L'Intelligent

Authorities in Guinea banned the December 7 issue of the France-based weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique L'Intelligent by refusing the magazine authorization to distribute. When the run of the magazine arrived in the airport in the capital, Conakry, the magazine's local distributor sent one copy to the Interior Ministry to secure permission to distribute. According to local journalists, this is a procedure followed by all international publications that distribute in Guinea. However, the Ministry did not give the distributor permission.

Members of the magazine's staff in Paris told CPJ that the ban stemmed from an article titled "Witch-Hunt in the Army," which alleged that Guinean authorities had secretly arrested dozens of army officers on suspicion of planning a coup. The magazine asked whether this was really an attempt to pre-empt a coup, or a witch-hunt against influential personalities who "could be troublesome in the post-Conté era."

While President Lansana Conté is rumored to be seriously ill, he won reelection on December 21 with more than 95 percent of the vote. (The presidential election took place amid an opposition boycott and widespread allegations of voting fraud.) Local journalists told CPJ that the ban on Jeune Afrique was part of a larger government crackdown on dissent in the run-up to elections.

The following issue of Jeune Afrique was distributed in the country without incident.