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Police summon five journalists of two opposition newspapers

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 11 September 2007, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ivorian police summoned five journalists of two pro-opposition daily newspapers for allegedly publishing stories they claimed cast a slur on the reputation of President Laurent Gbagbo.

Two of the journalists, Coulibaly Seydou and Alexis Noume, are editors of "Le Jour Plus". The other three, Assouan N' Gueeta, Nando Dapa and Laure Gozo, work for the "Le Rebond" newspaper.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that the journalists were interrogated for several hours before being released in the evening. They returned the following day for further questioninng.

The correspondent said "Le Jour Plus" in its Friday 7 September edition accused President Gbagbo and some of his functionaries of corruption. The article headlined: "CIA on the heel of the reformers- Secret behind purchase of cocoa-coffee factory from the US out" stated that the president and his men had stolen the country's money to the detriment of peasant farmers.

In its Monday 3 September edition, "Le Rebond" published a list of 38 officials of the ruling Ivorian Popular Front Party (FPI) including President Gbagbo, claiming they were billionaires.

This is not the first time "Le Jour Plus" has had trouble with President Gbagbo. In February, he and his wife brought legal action against the newspaper over a toxic waste scandal that caused the loss of six lives (see IFEX alerts of 13 March 2007, 21, 19, 14 and 13 September 2006).

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