20 March 1998


Foreign journalists regularly expelled from Guinea

Incident details



(RSF/IFEX) - Since the beginning of 1998, three foreign journalists working
for the private Guinea press have been expelled, and an editor-in-chief from
Burkina Faso was detained on 17 March 1998.

**This alert contains new cases and updates IFEX alerts of 13 January 1998
and 15 December 1997**

On 12 January 1998, in an open letter to the President, RSF expressed its
concerns about the deteriorating working conditions for journalists in this
presidential election year. This letter has remained unanswered while the
weekly newspaper "L'Independant" continues to face harassment from the

On 16 March 1998, Saliou Samb, Senegalese assistant editor-in-chief of
"L'Independant", was expelled by the Territorial Control Office (la
Direction de la surveillance du territoire - DST). Samb had been accused of
"forgeries and the use of forgeries" with regard to his identity card. DST
agents came for Samb at the newspaper's offices and accompanied him several
hours later to an airplane leaving for Dakar.

On 17 March 1998, Abdoulaye Sankara, a journalist from Burkina Faso working
for the same newspaper, was arrested by the DST, who offered no explanation.
He was released the same day following efforts made on his behalf by several
journalists. Sankara was then able to just make an airplane which was
waiting to take him back to Burkina Faso.

On 8 March 1998, Aboubacar Conde, editor-in-chief of "L'Independant", was
detained and held at the Mafanco (Conakry) police station for the "purposes
of investigation." He had already been briefly interrogated on 6 March 1998
about an article which he had published several days earlier. The article
described the negative public opinion following the temporary closure, on 26
December 1997, of the private newspapers "L'Independant" and "Le Lynx."
Conde was released on 9 March 1998 and must present himself before a judge
at the end of March.

Two foreign journalists of the private press had previously been expelled
from Guinea: on 7 January 1998, Foday Fofana, a Sierra Leonean journalist
working for "L'Independant" and as a correspondent for the British
Broadcasting Corporation, was expelled after having been detained for three
months in the central detention center in Conakry. Fofana was accused of
"attempting to breach State security", "forgeries and the use of forgeries"
and "attempt to encroach on title and function." Fofana was judged and
expelled in the same day, and was escorted to the border with Sierra Leone
(see IFEX alert of 13 January 1998).

On 22 December 1997, Louis Esperant Celestin, Ivory Coast editor-in-chief of
"L'Oeil", was the first journalist to be expelled from Guinea. He was
accused of "inciting violence and rioting" in connection with an article he
had published (see IFEX alert of 13 January 1998).

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • urging them to respect the right "of all people to freedom of expression,"
    as guaranteed in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and
    Political Rights, which has been ratified by Guinea
  • appealing to the government of Lansana Conte to put an end to the
    expulsions of foreign journalists and to the harassment of "L'Independant"

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Lansana Conte
    President of the Republic of Guinea
    Conakry, Guinea
    Fax: +224 41 16 73

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51

    More on this case

    Foreign journalists regularly expelled from Guinea 20 March 1998 Journalist expelled 13 January 1998 Journalist Foday Fofana detained 15 December 1997
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