Despite a peaceful constitutional succession in December 1993 and multiparty elections in October 1995-February 1996, the government of President Henri Konan Bédié increased its prosecutions of journalists sympathetic to the opposition, often resulting in sentences of up to three years in jail. On January 1, after serving a year in jail on a two-year conviction for "offenses against the head of state," deputy editor Freedom Neruda, journalist Emmanuel Koré, and publisher Abou Drahamane, all of the independent opposition newspaper La Voie, were released. Neruda subsequently received CPJ's 1997 International Press Freedom Award.

Although independent newspapers, opposition leaders, and student groups still voice their disapproval of government or presidential actions, self-censorship among journalists is common, since the government refuses to tolerate what it considers to be insults or attacks on the honor of the country's highest officials. While independent radio stations have complete control over editorial content and foreign broadcasts are available, the state continues to exercise considerable influence over official media program content, news coverage, and other matters of its two nationally broadcast radio and television stations, using these media to promote the policies of the President's own political party, the Parti Democratique Cote D'Ivoire.

Almost a dozen daily papers, including Le Jour, La Voie, La Nouvelle Republique, and Fraternité Matin went online this year, providing access to local news for Ivorians living abroad.

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