Teodoro Obiang NGUEMA MBASOGO
Teodoro Obiang Nguema took power in a 1979 coup d’état.
After more than four decades running the country, he has held power longer than any other president in the world.
Equatorial Guinea, 164th/180 countries in 2021 World Press Freedom Index
PREDATORY METHOD: Totalitarian dictatorship
Obiang Nguema has run Equatorial Guinea with an iron hand since taking power more than 40 years ago. In the little oil state in the Gulf of Guinea, depicted as the “Kuwait of Africa,” the press is muzzled by draconian and obsolete laws that make any criticism of the president and his policies virtually impossible. The press landscape is limited almost exclusively to state media assigned to relay government propaganda. No foreign correspondent is stationed in the country, and the government does not recognize independent media. The only private television network, ASONGA TV, is owned by the president’s son, who is also the country’s vice president. The network is subject to strict censorship. Those who cross the line are arrested or suspended from work. The latter action was taken against seven journalists accused in 2020 of having reported on military violence against a man caught violating a Covid-19 lockdown. Three years earlier, copies of a weekly that had reported on pressure against journalists were recalled and ordered burned. Social networks, the only viable option for the free circulation of information, are ceaselessly discredited by the government in a recently launched campaign.
FAVOURITE TARGETS: Critical voices
OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Hypocrisy
“This country is not the one you read about in the international media …Most of the criticisms of my country and myself are not based on facts and realities in the country. Our doors are open to media and all groups…They should come and see things for themselves.” (Obiang Nguema in an interview, Africa Watch, September 2012).