Following the tide of democratic reform that swept Africa in the early 1990s, voters in 1991 approved a new constitution. In 1993 elections, former dictator and military strongman Col. Lansana Conte became president. Although the constitution provides for some freedom of expression, defamation and slander are criminal offenses, and speech that personally insults the president is considered seditious. Consequently, the deterioration of working conditions in recent years for both local and foreign journalists in Guinea has been marked by expulsions, arrests, and harassment under the guise of violations of restrictive press laws.
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