Guinean military intelligence summons journalist for questioning over story
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that a journalist was summoned for questioning by military intelligence in Guinea about a story implicating soldiers in the theft of a truck. Noting that the summons coincided with a wave of attacks on journalists by soldiers, police and protesters, RSF calls for journalists to be given better protection.
Mohamed Bangoura, the editor of the Mosaiqueguinee.com news website, was stunned when told on 5 August that a group of soldiers had just turned up at the website’s offices and had ordered him to report to military intelligence headquarters.
The reason for the summons was an article implicating the army in the disappearance of a truck containing medical supplies from a military camp. Bangoura told RSF that, with the support of the Guinea Press Professionals Union (SPPG), he refused to reveal his source to the military. The dispute was finally settled by the Guinean media regulator, the High Authority for Communication (HAC).
“Summoning this journalist to a military camp is indefensible in a country where the media regulator and courts are functioning normally,” said Sadibou Marong, the director of RSF’s West Africa desk. “We applaud the way media stakeholders expressed strong opposition to this violation and we call on the Guinean authorities, who had pledged to promote press freedom, to protect journalists, of whom at least seven have been aggressed by security forces or protesters in recent weeks. These acts must not go unpunished.”
Bangoura is the second journalist to be summoned for questioning by the army in the past year. Ibrahima Sory Diallo, a journalist with the Laguinée.info news website, was summoned by the army for “a work session” in September 2021, SPPG general secretary Sékou Jamal Pendessa told RSF.
“The military did not even give the reason for this summons, despite our insistence,” Pendessa said. “We told them that this journalist would not go to a military camp, that they could refer the matter to the HAC or to the courts if they had something to reproach him for.”
Seven journalists harassed, attacked in recent weeks
Seven journalists have been harassed or attacked by soldiers, police or protesters since 28 July. The most recent victim was a reporter for the Guineematin.com news website who was questioned twice by soldiers while covering a peaceful demonstration in the capital, Conakry, on 17 August. The soldiers also confiscated his phone.
Djoma Kakande reporter Mamadou Hady Diallo was attacked by police while covering a demonstration by mining company employees in the northwest of the country on 4 August. Espace TV’s Mamoudou Boulléré Diallo was harassed by soldiers stationed on a major avenue in Conakry the same day.
Evasion Guinée journalists Abdallah Camara and Mohamed Sangaré and Djoma Médias journalist Algassimou Baldé were attacked by protesters while covering protests in Conakry on 28 July. Guineematin.com reporter Mamadou Bhoye Laafa Sow was badly beaten by a group of protesters the same day, and was threatened by soldiers while covering another protest the next day.
Guinea is ranked 84th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2022 World Press Freedom Index.