Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Gabon
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2008|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2007 - Snapshots: Gabon, February 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5678623.html [accessed 22 July 2014]|
In March, commentary critical of President Omar Bongo, Africa's longest-serving head of state, led the state-run National Communication Council to suspend for three months the private bimonthly Edzombolo. Authorities accused Director Jean de Dieu Ndoutoume of publishing "defamatory and insulting news directed at prominent state personalities" in connection with a February editorial headlined "Omar does not control anything anymore."
In June, an editorial headlined "The last days of Bongo" led authorities to hand Director Guy-Christian Mavioga of the private periodical L'Espoir a one-month prison term, a five-month suspended term, and a fine on charges of offending the head of state. Mavioga was released after 38 days in prison, during which he was hospitalized for back pain and respiratory problems. The newspaper remained suspended by state media regulators on the grounds that Mavioga violated laws prohibiting a civil servant from controlling a newspaper.
In October, the NCC blocked the Paris-based, satirical bimonthly Le Gri-Gri from printing and distributing in Gabon, according to news reports and local journalists. The council said the paper would be suspended until it officially registered with the government as a Gabonese publication. Prior to the ruling, a local firm had refused to print the September 27 issue because of an article critical of a government mining contract with a Chinese firm, Le Gri-Gri Managing Director Michel Ongoundou Loundah told CPJ. Also in October, the council suspended local bimonthly La Nation for a month because of an article critical of Arts and Culture Minister Blandine Marundu, according to local journalists.