(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Minister of the Interior Clemente Engonga, RSF protested the detention of Pedro Nolasco Ndong, president of the Equatorial Guinea Press Association (ASOPGE), at the airport in Malabo. RSF asked the minister to take the necessary measures so that the documents and money that were confiscated from Nolasco Ndong are returned to him as soon as possible. The organisation recalled that Equatorial Guinea has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of movement.
According to information collected by RSF, on 13 May 2001, Nolasco Ndong was detained at the Malabo airport as he returned from a seminar organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Windhoek, Namibia, on the occasion of the eleventh World Press Freedom Day. The police confiscated a report on the press freedom situation in Equatorial Guinea since 1991, as well as all documents that were distributed at the seminar. The officers also extorted US$100 (114 euros) from him without explanation.
RSF recalls that in February, Malabo Mayor Gabriel Mba Bela ordered the ASOPGE's closure (see IFEX alert of 26 February 2001). Access to information is entirely controlled by the authorities in Equatorial Guinea. All electronic media are censored and the private press is virtually non-existent. The ruling party controls the country's main publications and radio and television stations.