11 September 2001


New public prosecutor threatens journalists from private radio station

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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Public Prosecutor Caetano N'Tchama, RSF expressed concern over threats he made against journalists from the private radio station Radio Pidjiquiti. RSF asked the prosecutor to apologise to the radio station staff and publicly affirm his commitment to press freedom. "It is unacceptable that the first act of a recently appointed prosecutor is to raid a media outlet and threaten journalists there," stated RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. "The prosecutor's role is to guarantee public order and not, rather, to go after media professionals, who are simply exercising their right to inform fellow citizens," he added.

According to information obtained by RSF, on 8 September 2001, towards the end of the day, N'Tchama went to the Radio Pidjiquiti offices to demand cassettes from a programme broadcast that same day. During the programme, several local journalists commented on the week's news events, notably the head of state's nomination of the new prosecutor. The journalists wondered about President Kumba Yala's motives. When the staff refused to hand over the cassettes, the prosecutor, accompanied by two armed soldiers, threatened to arrest the journalists. The following day, he sent his bodyguards to threaten Radio Pidjiquiti staff again.


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