Guinea-Bissau radio station closed on provincial governor’s orders
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the closure of an important branch of Guinea-Bissau’s radio Africa FM by the governor of the eastern region of Bafatá. The closure is an attack on the freedom to inform, RSF said.
The branch of Africa FM in the city of Bafatá, 150 km east of the capital, Bissau, was closed by police yesterday morning on governor Dundu Sambu’s order
As well as producing local programming, it retransmits national programmes produced by Africa FM in Bissau. Its broadcasts reach the entire country, and it is one of Guinea-Bissau’s most popular stations.
“This closure is clearly designed to silence a source of criticism,” said Assane Diagne, the head of RSF’s West Africa office. “This attack on the freedom to inform and on pluralism is all the more disturbing because it comes from a governor who is member of the PAIGC, the party that has just won Guinea-Bissau’s parliamentary elections. We call on the authorities to order the immediate reopening of this radio station.”
“Bafatá’s governor has always demonstrated a desire to reduce the people of Guinea-Bissau to silence,” Africa FM’s director in Bissau, Mama Saliou Sané, told the local media. “Africa FM is the voice of those without a voice in Guinea-Bissau. We have already filed a complaint with the justice department because we have not been notified of the closure of the Bafatá radio station in accordance with the law.”
Thanks to the Bafatá branch, Africa FM’s broadcasts have been reaching the entire country since October 2018.
Guinea-Bissau is ranked 83rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index.