Press freedom dependent on politics
Although press offences are decriminalised in Côte d’Ivoire, journalists continued to be subjected to unjustified arrests and sanctions in 2020. Some were questioned at length and then handed over to the prosecutor’s office. Media outlets were also sanctioned for publishing a statement issued by lawyers representing a member of the opposition. Police attacks on journalists, especially during demonstrations, have continued and testify to the need for more awareness training about journalists’ rights. A new media law that says no grounds are admissible for detaining journalists should put a stop to the provisional detention of journalists. Other provisions of the new media law are less progressive. They include the criminalisation of insulting the president and the possibility of suing a journalist for reporting verified facts if they involve a person’s privacy. Two journalists with an opposition media outlet were heavily fined in March 2020 over an allegedly defamatory article about high-level corruption. The speed with which the case was heard a few months before a presidential election and the disproportionate nature of the fines served as a reminder that press freedom in Côte d’Ivoire depends closely on the political context. Despite the president’s undertakings, no significant progress has been seen in the investigation into the 2004 disappearance of Guy-André Kieffer, a journalist with French and Canadian dual nationality.
68 in 2020
28.94 in 2020