5 June 2000


RSF protests arrests of two journalists

Incident details

Iussuf Queta, Paula Melo



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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Prime Minister Caetano N'Tchama, RSF requested the release of Paula Melo, programming director of Radiotelevisão da Guiné-Bissau (Guinea-Bissau Radio-television, RTGB), and Iussuf Queta, RTGB news anchor and correspondent with Portuguese public radio station RDP. RSF recalled that "Guinea-Bissau is the only country in West Africa to have neither signed or ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights". RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard added that "we also urge the authorities to finally ratify this treaty, which notably guarantees press freedom."

According to the information collected by RSF, Melo and Queta were arrested in Bissau on 27 May 2000 and taken to the capital's central police station. They are accused of broadcasting a press release of the Guinean Socialist Alliance in which opposition figure Fernando Gomes described President Kumba Yala's regime as "tribalist." The press release was broadcast on RTGB's news programme a few hours prior to the journalists' arrest. Gomes was also arrested.

Furthermore, that same morning, Ensa Seidi, editor-in-chief of national radio station RDN, was relieved of his duties. During a broadcast, he had spoken of the difficult conditions under which journalists work. In solidarity, on 28 May, radio and television journalists decided to suspend the broadcast of programmes for an indefinite period.


Reporters Without Borders
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Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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