Freedom of the Press 2009 - Guinea
|Publication Date||1 May 2009|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2009 - Guinea, 1 May 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b27421228.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
Status: Not Free
Legal Environment: 22 (of 30)
Political Environment: 27 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 17 (of 30)
Total Score: 66 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.
A military junta led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara took power in a bloodless coup in December 2008 after Lansana Conte, Guinea's president for 24 years, died of a long illness. The junta, known as the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), abolished all government institutions and the constitution; however, by year's end, Guinea's new government had not attempted to enact additional media restrictions.
The U.S. State Department noted an improvement in the media environment during 2008; although there were some cases of harassment of journalists and closures of media outlets, the government refrained from large-scale harassment of the press, unlike in 2007. Nevertheless, the effects of the coup on media freedom were still uncertain at year's end.
The constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but this right is not respected in practice and has been widely abused, partly through restrictive legislation that designates defamation and slander as criminal offenses and permits the authorities to censor publications.
In January, two private weeklies, La Verite and L'Observateur, received three-month suspensions by the National Communications Council (CNC), reportedly for criticizing important government officials.
In November, the CNC suspended the license of a community radio station, Familia FM, for disturbing the peace and breaching the rules governing such stations. The CNC reversed its decision shortly after the closure, and Familia was allowed to resume broadcasting. The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) expressed concern about " the tendency of the CNC to order suspensions."
Radio is the most important news medium in the country. In addition to a state-owned radio station, 10 private stations operate mostly in urban areas, and 12 rural and community stations broadcast in the rest of the country. The state-owned Radio Television Guinea (RTG) continues to be the only television broadcaster.
Thirteen private weekly newspapers publish regularly in Conakry, while numerous others publish only sporadically. The country's only daily, the Horoya, is state run. Several new radio stations and many new newspapers began publishing in 2008. While many journalists continued to self-censor, a wider variety of opinions and viewpoints were represented than in previous years. However, widespread corruption and a lack of transparency in media ownership continued to plague the private press.
International media operate freely in the country.
The government does not directly restrict access to the internet, but use of the medium remains very low, largely because of illiteracy, limited access points, and the high cost of access. The proportion of the population estimated to have access to the internet in 2008 was only 0.5 percent.