Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Ivory Coast
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2008|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Ivory Coast, February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c56788c.html [accessed 20 September 2014]|
Police in Abidjan detained Claude Dassé, a reporter for the private daily Soir Info, for five days in January on a contempt charge after the journalist accused the state prosecutor of corruption in an interview published in the private daily Le Rebond. Dassé's allegation involved the government's investigation of a singer accused of trying to kill the reporter over a critical story. Police also questioned Editor Nando Dapa and reporter André N'Guessan of Le Rebond for two hours over their decision to publish the story.
In February, police held Editor Denis Kah Zion and reporter André Silver Konan of the private daily Le Nouveau Réveil for 11 hours in connection with a story recounting alleged assassinations and scandals during President Laurent Gbagbo's rule.
French and Ivorian investigations into the unsolved 2004 disappearance of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer were boosted by the emergence of a purported witness and a political pledge by new French President Nicolas Sarkozy. On August 23, French television station France 3 interviewed Berté Seydou, who said he was the driver for an army commando unit that kidnapped Kieffer. Seydou said Michel Legré, the brother-in-law of President Gbagbo's wife, was in charge of the unit. Ivoirian prosecutor Raymond Tchimou said government involvement in the disappearance was a "false lead," according to news reports. Legré was questioned previously in the case but had denied involvement. In August, Sarkozy met with members of Kieffer's family and promised to pursue the investigation vigorously.
In August, about 40 militants from the Student Federation of Côte d'Ivoire (known by its French acronym, FESCI) invaded the offices of private daily L'Intelligent d'Abidjan, sequestering journalists for two hours, seizing newsroom equipment, and knocking down the office door of Editor Laurent Okoué, according to news reports. The students demanded the staff publish a protest letter, but they dispersed after police intervened, Okoué told CPJ. The letter was in response to an August 14 story that said 100 student members of FESCI had defected to an opposition party.
Separate stories trumpeting corruption scandals involving President Gbagbo led police in Abidjan to question five journalists for the pro-opposition dailies Le Jour Plus and Le Rebond in early September. Police interrogated journalists over three days for more than 10 hours at a time, according to news reports and local journalists. Four of the journalists were later charged with defaming the head of state and found liable for damages of 10 million CFA francs (US$22,600) each, Le Jour Plus Editor Frederick Koffi told CPJ. The rulings were appealed.