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Military junta enforces media blackout

UPDATE: Military high command sets conditions for media to resume operations (RSF, 18 April 2012)

(MFWA/IFEX) - A media blackout is being enforced by the military junta in Guinea-Bissau that staged a coup d'état on April 12, 2012.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) source in the country reported that on the day of the coup, the coup makers forced all the media houses to close down.

The source said that in the evening of the same day, the soldiers seized a camera belonging to the local team of RTP-Africa, a Portuguese broadcaster, after issuing death threats to them. The owner of privately-owned online news website, DITADURA DE CONSENSE, was reportedly tortured by the soldiers.

This latest censorship has worsened the already repressive media environment in Guinea-Bissau. Journalists in the country have been practicing self-censorship as a result of harsh treatment meted out to them by security forces and powerful individuals with connections to drug barons.

Apart from the climate of fear, the media in Guinea-Bissau have endured and operated under very dire economic and political conditions. There are only about five newspapers and few radio and television stations, including the state-run Radio Televisao de Guinea-Bissau (RTGB).
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