Transition: the 7 deadly sins of the Guinean press [Édito]

2024-01-12 10:32:46

With internet restrictions and radio jamming for more than a month, the Guinean press is going through one of the worst times in its history. These repressive acts have, in part, been endorsed by the media themselves who, for the most part, are seeking favors from the transition authorities.

The takeover of power on September 5, 2021 generated a wave of popular euphoria, especially within the press, where the advent of the CNRD was greeted as a sigh of relief. Media professionals competed with each other to win the favor of the new authorities. During the consultations organized at the People’s Palace, Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya was asked to restore the High Authority of Communication, a rehabilitation materialized on September 21, 2021 after those of the Supreme Court and the Court of Auditors.

Subsequently, the CNRD announced several measures in favor of the media, notably the revaluation of the subsidy (note that this promise was never kept), the appointment of around twenty journalists in the public administration and to the Presidency, as well as the granting of a Press House. However, this latest gesture was described as a “poisoned chalice” by Presse Solidaire, which had called on journalists not to attend. The culmination was the creation of the Media Development Support Fund (FADEM) on November 24, 2022.

Despite these advantages, the media has been criticized for its allegiance to the transitional authorities. As a sign of recognition, the press orchestrated a celebration of the CNRD anniversaries for years 1 and 2, entirely financed by the government as well as the celebration of Independence Day, on October 2, 2023. An unprecedented initiative since liberalization waves in Guinea.

However, repressive acts against the press emerged on September 9, 2021 with the muscular raid of special forces at the headquarters of the Djoma group, allegedly to search for vehicles “stolen” from the State, without a warrant. Violations of press freedom have multiplied under the CNRD, including the summons of the publishing director of mosaiqueguinee.com on August 5, 2022 to the Almamy Samory Touré camp, the arrest of journalist Amadou Diouldé Diallo on October 20, 2022, and the summons of the CEO of Hadafo Média, Lamine Guirassy, ​​and the journalist Mohamed Mara on February 17, 2023.

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These acts were carried out under the complicit silence of the heads of press associations.
The internet restrictions in May 2023, the jamming of the airwaves of certain media, and the theft of Sabari FM and Love FM transmitters marked a turning point. In response, media bosses organized protest actions, including a press-free day, which led to the lifting of these restrictions.

The blocking of Guineematin.com from August 15 to November 5, 2023 highlighted the lack of solidarity from press associations, with the exception of SPPG and Presse Solidaire. The violent repression of the demonstration by the Private Press Union led to the arrest of 12 journalists and their appearance before the Kaloum court. These events did not generate any real media coverage. It is in this context that from November 24, 2023, the internet was once again restricted, the airwaves scrambled, and certain private television channels removed from the Canal Plus and Startimes packages.

Regarding the High Authority for Communication (HAC), as a regulatory body and interface between the authorities and the media, it is criticized for its lack of involvement in resolving the current problems of press companies. This inertia has led to him being accused of complicity with the enemies of press freedom in Guinea.

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